Sept. 26, 2020 — This past Wednesday, a 53-foot semi-truck rolled into food shares located in Florence and Mapleton, where volunteers helped off-load a combined 40,600 pounds of food to be distributed in the coming weeks and months to community members in need.
The deliveries in Florence and Mapleton were just two of several stops being made along the southern Oregon coast as part of an effort by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ to assist in COVID-19 and wildfire relief.
Other stops this week included food pantries in Reedsport, Lakeside, Port Orford and Bandon.
“We filled every nook and cranny we could,” said Larry Farnsworth, Bishop of the Florence Church of Latter-day Saints, who was on hand to help unload the thousands of pounds of food donations.
That same day, two truckloads of non-perishable food — enough to feed 2,800 people for a week — was also delivered to FOOD For Lane County in Eugene with help from church members in Eugene, Springfield and Santa Clara.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a world-wide humanitarian support program, providing food, clothing, shelter and needed medical supplies for people around the world who are victims of famine, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis or a health-related crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our church is able to do this due to the generous contributions from members and friends of the church,” said Farnsworth, who lives in Florence with his wife Crystal. “The church has its own farms, orchards, dairies, processing plants, canning and harvesting operations, and Bishop’s store-houses in many areas of the country and world.”
In fact, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has regularly sent food to these storehouses and food banks across the nation.
Since March, the church been sending an additional 15 trucks a week out of its Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City to locations around the U.S. During the first 16 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic alone, the church dispatched an additional 240 truckloads beyond its normal capacity — with each truck bringing 40,000 pounds of food.
Now, with the resent wildfires throughout the Northwest, additional trucks are now being sent to Oregon and other states ravaged by fires and hurricanes to help those communities.
“The Church deeply appreciates the work and service provided by local food shares and pantries who continue to serve those in our community who have critical needs,” Farnsworth said. “Their existing infrastructure is invaluable in allowing others, like the Church, to assist in this important humanitarian effort.”