News Story

Hundreds of Young Latter-day Saints Answer a Call to JustServe in Alberta

Over the course of one remarkable hour on February 10, 2024, several hundred young adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled 1,000 emergency hygiene kits for donation to the Salvation Army. The kits were assembled during the JustServe community service activities of a province-wide young single adult (YSA) conference held at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

The theme of the two-day conference attended by nearly 1,000 young adults was “Think Celestial.” In addition to the JustServe activities, participants enjoyed workshops, social activities, meals and inspirational keynote addresses.

Community Service

During a conference mid-day break, participants worked together to package thousands of essential hygiene items donated by the Church. The kits included such items as shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste and feminine hygiene products.

The Salvation Army, JustServe and the Church, as part of the NGO Council of Alberta, collaborated to facilitate the kit initiative in support of the province's emergency preparedness and recovery efforts. The kits will be used to support individuals who are displaced during emergency responses.

Tim Sharp, executive director of the Salvation Army Edmonton Community Resource Centre, expressed appreciation for the assembly and donation of the kits. After the 2023 Alberta wildfires and evacuations, the local Salvation Army’s hygiene kit inventory was critically depleted. Due to the donation of 1,000 new kits, Sharp said, “we are prepared once again to provide assistance when called upon. … Without such partnerships and support, we would not be able to meet the needs of so many.”

Conference volunteer Scott Smith remarked that he was happy to see people come together and “just be joyful” as they worked to assemble the kits. He observed that, while he doesn’t have endless financial resources to offer, he could give his time to make the kits. He said, “I know, at least, that [the recipients] can have those basic needs that, often, some of us don’t think about in our daily lives; they’re such practical things.”

The opportunity to contribute hands-on time to the kit assembly resonated deeply for many of the YSA conference participants.

Justine Dair, a member of the conference planning committee, shared, “We’ve heard from participants that the service activity was their favourite part of the conference. Some participants went through the kit assembly [line] two or three times to create another kit; they were having such a great time.”

Volunteer Fair

A community information and volunteer fair was also organized and sponsored by the local JustServe team. Organizations such as Search and Rescue Alberta, CASA Mental Health and Alberta Dreams hosted displays in the lobby of the convention centre, giving YSA conference participants the opportunity to sign up to volunteer in their own communities.

Conference participants also enjoyed creating children’s Valentine’s Day cards with uplifting messages for distribution by CASA Mental Health.

Focus on Jesus Christ

Jeffrey B. Champion, president of the Edmonton Alberta YSA Stake, said, “The conference brought together nearly a thousand young single adults to focus on Jesus Christ by increasing their knowledge of His eternal doctrine and implementing that understanding through Christlike service.” He noted that the conference was completely planned, organized and run by YSA members of multiple congregations throughout Alberta’s three YSA stakes.

Charitable outreach to all is a core principle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Silvia H. Allred, former member of the Relief Society General Presidency, said, “The pure love of Christ is expressed as we give selfless service. Helping one another is a sanctifying experience which exalts the receiver and humbles the giver. It helps us become true disciples of Christ” (“The Essence of Discipleship,” April 2011 general conference).

Contributed by Kathleen Carter

Read the story in French

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