LDS youth service project benefits Salvation Army food bank
Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 12, 2013
For 40 years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has held its Multi-Stake Youth Conference at Troy University.
For each of those years, the young people have participated in a joint service project that introduces them to the needs of the wider community and offers them an opportunity to help meet those needs.
Nearly 700 youths, ages 14-18, from the LDS church are attending the “Multi Stake” Youth Conference themed “Stand Ye in Holy Places” at Troy University this weekend. This year, the joint service project directly benefited a local service organization, the Pike County Salvation Army.
Jeremy Kokenes, Young Men’s Activities Specialist, said that a canned food drive for the local Salvation Army was a good fit for the young people from Dothan, Mobile, Pensacola, Fort Walton, Panama City and Tallahassee.
“They have all participated in food drives so they knew what to do to make this canned food drive a success,” Kokenes said.
However, “this” canned food drive was different from most. It was protein specific.
When Kokenes asked Kim May, director of the Pike County Salvation Army, about the greatest need for the Salvation Army food pantry, she told him protein.
“People have been very generous in their giving to the food pantry and we appreciate every donation,” May said. “However, we never have enough protein items. Canned protein products are more expensive and we just don’t get a lot of them so there is always a need.”
Through the dedication of the Multi-Stake Youth Conference participants, the need for the Pike County Salvation Army’s food pantry has been met several times over.
The youth who are attending the conference at Troy University collected 2,364 food items weighing almost 1,700 pounds.
“Almost 99 percent of our food pantry needs is proteins,” May said. “Those needs have now been met for quite a while through the efforts of these wonderful young people.”
And, not only did the young people come through with flying colors as far as the number of protein items donated, they also separated the items – peanut butter, tuna, fish, chicken, beef and pork.
“They also put the expiration date on the outside of the cans so we can organize them according to date,” May said.
“That has saved us many, many hours of work. And, there was only a small box of items with expired dates. Usually, with a canned food drive, you get a lot of cans with dates that have expired. Not this one.”
May said any words to express appreciation and gratitude to the Multi-Stake Youth Conference youths and adults would be inadequate.
“We thank them on behalf of the Pike County Salvation Army and the many who will benefit from their generosity,” she said. “We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”