News Story

Devastating Fire Creates New Friendships and Opportunities

On January 30, 2019, fire destroyed the warehouse and food inventory belonging to the Community Food Sharing Association in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The warehouse supplies 54 food banks across the province.

In March, local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered approximately 75 pallets of food loaded into five semi-trailers. Over 60,000 cans, boxes and other commodities valued nearly $125,000 — the largest single donation in the food bank’s history.

The food bank expressed appreciation in these words:

“We at the Community Sharing Association would like to extend a sincere thank you to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for your very generous donation of non-perishable food items. This donation was significant in helping us restock after the devastating fire we experienced at our warehouse; it also helped ensure we were able to continue to support the 54 food banks throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which serve just over 26,000 individuals on a monthly basis.”

The Community Food Sharing Association had hoped that the food and commodities could be provided in a timelier way by purchasing from local Sobeys outlets, which would have avoided the costly ferry trip. However, Sobeys was not able to provide so much food at one time.

Once the semis arrived at the temporary home of the Community Food Sharing Association, 87 pairs of hands helped unload, pack and store the food for distribution. Volunteers from Haliburton Energy Services, Academy Canada, Keller Williams Realty and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contributed 274–man hours of service.

One of those pairs of hands belonged to Justin Bellman, a volunteer from the local community. He expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to help: “It’s not every day that we get an opportunity to be involved with a community project that allows us to reach out to so many, not just those in the local area but throughout the province. It was really nice to be part of such an inviting group of volunteers that were always smiling and willing to do what was asked of them.”

Jared Whipple, president of the Church’s local branch, added, “When we were working at the food bank, we were shoulder to shoulder with members of our community. This was not just The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was the entire community coming together for a much larger cause. The Spirit was there every day. You could see it in the smiles of all the people around you. The feeling that we get when we serve is outstanding, but the feeling we receive when we serve with others in the community is even better.”

Service is a core value for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hundreds of thousands of members donate millions of hours of service to their communities in many parts of the world regularly.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.