About 100 volunteers from the 11 wards and branches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Kingsport Tennessee Stake came to load the boxes of canned goods, pasta, cakes mixes, flour and more into the trucks and trailers of five area pantries that will pass it on to low-income families and seniors from Greeneville to Marion, Va., and all points in between who rely on their assistance with food.
“The more hands the lighter the work,” said a smiling Brent Young, first counselor to the Stake, as boxes sailed bucket brigade-style through the volunteers’ hands into trucks and trailers and the Good Samaritan warehouse, where it will jump start the ministry’s upcoming holiday food drive for 3,000 local people in need.
“Thanksgiving is coming up and we’re excited to be partnering with them. But it’s a year-round need,” said Rick Brewer, director of public affairs for the Stake.
Pai Mushayamunda, chief operations officer for Good Samaritan, was also very appreciative of the Latter-Day Saints’ support.
“We’re signing up people now (for Thanksgiving food). We will close that window in a couple of weeks, but we always keep a waiting list, and we do our best to make sure every family has a Thanksgiving meal.”
Of the 20,000 pounds of food that came to Good Samaritan, Mushayamunda said, “It’s encouraging to know there are churches and people who are passionate about the need in the community. We are excited and so appreciative of the partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to ensure our Thanksgiving kickoff goes well.
“As a ministry we consider ourselves a bridge for people and families in need during the holidays. We serve many hundreds of families who are trying their best to make ends meet. And we do our best to ensure they have food on the table for the holidays and know that they are loved by their community.”
In addition to Good Samaritan, five other ministries and churches with large food outreach programs sent volunteers to pickup large shares of the Latter-day Saints donation, including Greeneville Community Ministries, Kingsport’s Kitchen of Hope program and Shades of Grace United Methodist Church pantry, the Faith in Action ministry of Abingdon, Va., and the First United Methodist Church pantry of Marion, Va.
Young said all of the beneficiaries were familiar to members of the Stake’s congregations. including some who regularly volunteer in their programs.
“We’re glad we were able to share our resources with them,” he said.