News Story

Mormon Women Lending a Hand for Vulnerable Families

Mormon women from across Adelaide’s Marion Stake (diocese) came together recently for the culmination of a six-month-long service project in support of Centacare, a community services organisation run by the Catholic Church.

Close to a year’s worth of vital supplies including a mountain of food, were accumulated for victims of domestic violence.

The women’s Relief Society auxiliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered and donated the supplies to the four Centacare emergency accommodation sites in Adelaide.

The 441 packages created included pantry boxes with basics such as cereals, milk, sugar, tinned fruit and vegetables, noodles, biscuits, pasta and sauces along with toiletry packs of sanitary items, shampoos/conditioner, soaps, tooth paste, brushes and deodorants.

Additionally, dozens of new quilts and pillows were provided to Centacare representatives and accommodation managers, Cathy Araki and Vicki Lachlan, along with 145 children’s packs. Each pack contained a soft toy, book, pencils, colouring book and play toy in colourful bags hand-sewn by the RS women as part of the project effort.

“We are so grateful for the women’s generosity and for the work of their church,” Ms Araki said.

“Primarily our role is to supply safe, emergency accommodation (for) young women and their children coming from domestic violence or drug and alcohol-affected backgrounds, with the outlook of providing more stable accommodation within the community in the future.

“Where we can, we like to be able to supply some basic food, toiletries and bedding to help ease the stress of the situation but often we need to rely on the generosity of the public as our budget does not stretch that far.”

She said the women who would receive the Relief Society care packages were primarily under the age of 25, pregnant or parenting and most were homeless. Often the young women escaping violence had no personal items to bring with them.

The Marion Stake Relief Society leaders are Kylie Puckridge, Samantha McKay and Lyn Heading. They decided back in 2012 that Centacare’s Young Family Support Service would be the focus of their annual service project this year.

Kylie Puckridge said, “There was an overwhelming support for this plan. Everyone loved the idea.”  Soon afterwards they began preparations necessary for the project to move forward.

Samantha McKay was deeply affected by the serious needs of these young women, and grateful for the support those in their Stake were willing to give.  She said, “Our hearts were so full as we saw the outpouring of love towards and through generous donations for these young women in such dire circumstances.” 

Adelaide’s Marion Stake consists of six wards or parishes and one branch (a smaller unit). While each congregation has its own Relief Society group of women working together under the scriptural motto: ‘Charity Never Faileth”, the combined event held last month brought women together from as far away as Kangaroo Island and Mount Gambier.

Lyn Heading was also happy to help organize this worthwhile venture.  She said, “The project gathered so much food, extensive toiletries, a large variety of toys and books, as well as beautiful bedding including pillows and quilts.”

“Ms Araki and Ms Lachlan related anonymous yet personal stories of women who struggle to find a safe refuge and were so thankful for the much-needed goods." 

The representatives of Centacare also met with some of the ward Relief Society leaders following the activity to express their gratitude and appreciation.

“We were struck by the level of compassion shown by Relief Society women and were amazed by the sizeable donations,” Ms Araki said.

The Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the oldest and largest women’s organisation in the world; it was begun in Nauvoo, USA, in 1842.  Current membership is approximately six million and is open to all Mormon women from the age of 18 years on.

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