President Ronald E. Mumford of the Preston Idaho North Stake asked every family in his stake to participate this year in humanitarian aid projects.
"It is an eternal law that service blesses the lives of those who give as well as those who receive. Several months ago, as we began our planning, we realized that there are many humanitarian needs – some close by and some in distant lands. The stake Relief Society leaders assembled the ideas and organized information and planning. The wards then took hold of the ideas and made the projects happen.
"Now, as we hear of the acts of love which have been given to neighbors near and far, we are twice blessed," he said.
Jody Rasmussen, a counselor in the stake Relief Society, said the stake president left each ward to decide how to pursue the charge. A list of possible needs were sent to each ward. One ward collected white shirts to send to missionaries. In many of the wards, money was rounded up to go with the different projects to cover miscellaneous expenses.
Vicki Smith and her husband, Sam, said they prepared for about two and half months, then scheduled a night for the Riverdale 2nd Ward members to get together and complete the projects. On the appointed evening, they gathered and painted 200 wood cars made and donated by Richmond, Utah, craftsman Roland Anderson. The retired contractor calculated he has made about 100,000 toys in 10 years for humanitarian needs.
The children of the ward made 500 whisper phones in about 20 minutes. A whisper phone is made of PVC pipes and is used for improving children's speech. The Relief Society made 30 quilts and assembled 300 hygiene kits and 100 newborn kits.
"I thought it turned out well; we had the priesthood and Primary work together, every organization had an assignment. Everything was shipped to the Church Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake," Sister Smith said.
Mary Penrod, Relief Society president of the Clifton 2nd Ward, and Kris Ralphs, humanitarian specialist, reported their ward is planning to prepare items for a local shelter for children. The ward was working with the local Catholic Church collecting scarves, gloves and hats. "We have so enjoyed and appreciated working with our Catholic neighbors," President Mumford said.
Linda Hansen, who oversaw the humanitarian aid projects in the Preston 9th Ward, said her ward was preparing items to go to an orphanage in Santiago, Chile.
One of the boys in the Preston 9th Ward, Austin Tew, tied the program into an Eagle project. Austin is making toys and having the Young Men and their fathers work on them together. Other ward organizations are making quilts, crib blankets, hygiene kits and clothes to add to their shipment. Projects are to be completed by the second week of March.
A Web address was given for those seeking information, patterns and instructions for many of the items found on the stake's lists. Included on the lists were wood blocks, baby gowns, fabric activity books, quilts, T-shirts, and newborn and hygiene kits.
President Mumford expressed his satisfaction to members of his stake for making their efforts to bless those in need. "Those who follow the Savior expect to be asked to serve. For that is what Heavenly Father asked of Him, and He served us all," he said.