News Story

Prince Edward Island Latter-day Saints Feed the Hungry

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world are working hard to reduce poverty and hunger. This work is carried out by Latter-day Saint Charities on a global level, bishops’ storehouses on a regional level and individual members and units on a local level. Latter-day Saints diligently seek to end suffering and “lift up the hands which hang down” (D&C 81:5) by following the counsel of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and afflicted.

Frank and Vivian Dourte of Gaspereaux, Prince Edward Island, are doing their part. For the Dourtes, 2017 was a significant year — Frank concluded his service as a Church branch president, and Vivian completed a difficult year of cancer treatment. They found themselves seeking a new opportunity to serve in their community. A friend told them about the Southern Kings and Queens Food Bank in nearby Montague, which was about to lose its volunteer management. Despite urgent appeals through the local media, no replacement had been found.

“This was our ‘aha’ moment; this was where the Lord needed us,” remarked Frank.

Operating since 1988, the Southern Kings and Queens Food Bank serves an average of 189 families monthly — over 500 individuals. Each household receives three to five days’ worth of food and can return monthly, which many do. Running a food bank is a great undertaking, and with only a month to be trained by the outgoing managers, the Dourtes dedicated their hearts and hands to make it happen.

“We quickly realized how many people in our small community are dealing with food insecurity,” said Vivian. “We are so grateful for our chance to help.”

Serving this way has not been easy for the Dourtes. Frank suffers from ongoing challenges associated with multiple sclerosis, and Vivian works full-time. However, they credit their success to their faith in Jesus Christ and help from a dedicated team of 20 volunteers and local missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who help once a week.

Vivian shared, “One of our volunteers recently told me that he volunteers because he feels giving to someone selflessly is both fulfilling and satisfying. … [Jesus Christ] said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ It can’t be more literal than this.”

Local businesses, churches and members of the community have responded quickly to the Dourtes’ call for donations of food and money, which keep the food bank stocked. Running the food bank is truly a community effort led by two humble servants of God.

David Spragg, president of the Saint John New Brunswick Stake, expressed, “So many people in our area have a difficult time just scraping by. The Dourtes have set an excellent example for [others] by offering Christlike service to those in the Montague area and have done so with no thought of their own struggles. As we press forward in our quest to look after those in need, we can be grateful for the examples already being set.”

The Dourtes are doing their best to serve God by serving their fellow beings. At the Kings and Queens Food Bank, Christlike service is rendered and the hungry are fed.

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