News Story

Canadian Mormon Women and Girls Continue Tradition of “Harvest of Love”

On September 26, 2015, more than 150 women and girls from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered to participate in the 14th annual Harvest of Love, a service project in support of local shelters for women and children.

For the first 10 years, Harvest of Love focused on Third World countries, turning their efforts to local needs over the past four years. In their first year of local focus, the group cleaned and decorated a nursery inside a women’s shelter they had adopted.

Susan Paunins, Winnipeg Manitoba Stake (similar to a diocese) Relief Society president, is amazed and touched by the support the project has received from the community. “Over the years that we have done this service project, we reached out to local businesses for donations, and now these same businesses are calling us, asking if they can donate to our cause.”

This year, organizers decided to double their goal, which meant they’d need more money and more donations. Andrea Gatz, committee chairperson, wondered if they’d succeed. “As we planned and prepared, I wasn't sure how we were going to be able to accomplish all that we wanted to accomplish. It was amazing to see the doors open with so many donations from people and local businesses — donations that allowed us to reach our goals. Each member of our planning committee and project leader was essential to make this such an amazing event. The hours of service they all put into preparing allowed us to do so much more than I could ever have imagined possible.”

The group prepared kits for women, babies and children and made receiving blankets, all-occasion greeting cards, baby quilts, ribbon wands, inspirational journals and more. They also received donations of items such as toiletries, shoes, clothing, craft items, blankets, sheet sets, winter accessories, diapers and baby formula.

Delali Schroen, Church local assistant public affairs director, felt motivated by the opportunity to be part of the project. “It was such a beautiful event to attend with … our sisters, young and old, working together to provide much needed supplies to various women’s shelters across our stake.”

Word about the annual service project spread as far as California, where a group of young women at camp made scarves for the women’s shelter.

Michelle Hadfield, Harvest of Love committee co-chair, said, “I have truly seen the hand of God in this whole event. … This year was a great success due to all the helping hands. It’s truly amazing what can be accomplished with the help of the Lord and so many others. I learned that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God (see Mosiah 2:17) and that He hears and answers prayers.”

Latter-day Saints are taught the importance of service. Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church, said, “Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish — and in effect save their lives” (“Serve the Lord with Love,” Ensign, Feb. 2014).

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