Reaching out

Published 10:01 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

Women of the local Relief Society volunteered at several places recently as part of a service project. Some of the places that benefited from their volunteerism included CHKD, community agencies and a women’s shelter.

Church helps others in community

The Relief Society of the Chesapeake Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently linked arms with faith partners, school districts, community agencies and The Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk to provide assistance throughout the community.

The women’s group participated in several projects, including food drives, school tool drives, nutritional assistance, assistance in running a homeless shelter, fundraisers to assist the elderly, an “unbirthday party” to benefit the battered women’s shelter, and made activity packets for the children of the cancer and blood disorder clinic at CHKD.

Jennifer Henderson helps stock items in a closet at a local women’s shelter. The women of the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints performed a number of community service projects recently.

Each Friday for the past few months, the women in the Suffolk congregation have volunteered their time to support a local women’s shelter. Their time is used to clean, sort and organize the items that have been donated to the shelter. Members hosted a mini-luau with pedicures for the moms and a birthday party for the children. They have also regularly donated clothing, cleaning supplies, paper products and personal hygiene items. Their next project with this organization is to host a mother and daughter quilt tying service night.

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Women in the Franklin congregation organized a food drive benefiting Franklin Cooperative Ministries. This is a non-profit organization funded by local churches, businesses, organizations and grants dedicated to helping the needy in the Franklin area. They provide emergency food, clothing and financial assistance to pre-screened clients who are not receiving help elsewhere.

“When we first contacted the organization to see how we could help, they responded that their shelves were bare,” Brenda Heiselt said. “They had depleted their supply of non-perishable food. At that point they did not even have one jar of peanut butter to give to those families in need.” Since that time, a donation basket has been kept in the Relief Society room to make it easy for members to give. The women also have collected school supplies for local children.

Each year women in the Smithfield congregation participate with Christian Outreach on projects for the homeless and elderly. Also recently, members held an “unbirthday party” to benefit a local battered women’s shelter. Along with practical donations, they also decorated Halloween bags and costumes for each child currently in the shelter. The women decorated and wrapped packages while enjoying a brunch and time to visit with each other.

The women of the Portsmouth congregation provided service The Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk. Members made and decorated pillowcases for the children and purchased items for activity packets, which are given to children who cannot play with the same items as the general population because of having low immunity or having an infection themselves.

The Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 1842. It currently has about 6 million members in more than 170 countries and territories. It is often recognized as one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world.