A day of caring – Volunteers rally for community causes at Humanitarian Day

It was a day set aside for caring about – and contributing to – the community.

The Spokane East Stake Relief Society completed a Humanitarian Project on Feb. 25 in which over 200 members worked to provide items for 15 local organizations. This day was different from the physical labor project that was completed in the fall when three city of Spokane Valley sites, two cemeteries and an undeveloped piece of property owned by the Central Valley School District were cleaned.

Over 200 representatives of the Spokane East Stake Relief Society participated in a Humanitarian Day on Feb. 25.
Photo by Katie Bowers.

In talking about the Humanitarian Project, Stake Relief Society President Karen Spear said, “I love the origin of this day. Instead of our sisters creating projects that we would find homes for, the Humanitarian Leader, Jill Woolf, went to organizations and schools and asked them, ‘What is on your wish list?’ They gave several ideas which we took to our sisters and they decided what they wanted to sponsor. The thrill of the day was in being able grant wishes. It’s not often that we get to do that!”

The project benefited Sullivan Park Care Center, Horizon Hospice and Hospice of Spokane, Good Samaritan, Sullivan Park Care Center and Sullivan Park Assisted Living, Central Valley, West Valley, East Valley, Freeman and Liberty school districts, Valley Hospital and Medical Center, My Sister’s Closet and a Guatemalan Mission Project.

Items such as weighted toys and textured lap quilts were completed beforehand, and, in some cases presented to representatives that day.

Volunteers worked on picture books, quilts, footrests and other projects during the Humanitarian Day.
Photo by Katie Bowers.

“We chose to use the time allotted for our Annual Women’s Stake Conference as the work day,” said Pres. Spear. “Ironically this day was during the worst snowstorm experienced so far this year. But in spite of the weather, the day was well attended by the sisters. Representatives from four of the organizations showed up and were presented with completed projects. All other items were delivered.”

The day began with Stake President Greg Mott speaking to the sisters about the importance of their work, which commenced at 10 a.m. with some sisters working all day and others coming and going as their time permitted. There was no assigned time frame given and a sister could work on any of the projects. Most projects, even those that took months to prepare, were completed during the work day of Feb. 25.

The list of donated items is extensive. It included 20 picture books for dementia patients, 140 tennis ball creatures for hand coordination for the school districts and one of the elder care units, 70 weighted stuffed animals that help provide stability for children with sensory challenges.

Creative amphibian creatures were just part of the agenda at the East Stake Humanitarian Day.
Photo by Katie Bowers.

In addition, 105 covered phone book footrests were created for children with special needs, 110 shirt protectors, created from hand towels, were cut and sewn for the elder care centers, and 11 textured lap quilts were made for dementia patients. Also created were 14 beds in a bag. These are quilts with sheets and pillow cases in them. They were prepared with two regular quilts for a total of 16 quilts being made for donation to the Hope House with three boxes of toiletries.

A large box of vitamins, reading glasses and sunglasses were also donated to a sister who left on a short- term mission to Guatemala. She was able to take these items with her to give to less fortunate people in Guatemala. Many women in Guatemala create intricate beadwork for the support of their families and the glasses were sent to help reduce eye strain for them as well as to provide sunglasses for field workers.

Also, 1200 items were donated to “My Sister’s Closet.” This organization provides career clothing, accessories, shoes, and even matching purses free of charge for a woman who might not have the finances to buy clothing for job interviews.

The Humanitarian Day benefited 15 nonprofit causes, including local retirement centers, schools, hospice centers, a clothing bank and a Central American mission.
Photo by Katie Bowers.

“When the representatives of My Sister’s Closet saw the items being donated, they almost didn’t have words to express their gratitude,” said Pres. Spear. “They were completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the women.”

The funding for these projects was provided by the individual wards through donations. The East Stake did provide boxes and ideas for the various projects. In some cases the work on some of the projects began as early as the fall of last year.

Sis. Woolf facilitated the day and expressed delight that she could be a part of making sure that the people of her community were being served.

Around 1,200 items were donated to a local clothing bank at the Humanitarian Day.
Photo by Katie Bowers.

“To know that the service provided directly affects the people in our community, where our friends and family members live, is important,” she said.

Sis. Woolf added that the sense of contributing and being connected to the community was expressed many times during the day by various sisters.

“I think being seen as an organization of women that cares about their neighbors enough to serve them is important,” she said. “It is my hope that that we will not only be seen as an organization that gives service but one that the community wants to work with.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

While not an official publication of the LDS Church, we strive to offer news stories, advertisements and other offerings of particular interest to the LDS community.