The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Woodbridge, Virginia welcomed the general public to an event on Saturday titled “Gifts of the Heart.” Over one thousand people from the surrounding community attended the event which successfully contributed donated household items at no cost. The event also mobilized food donations for Action in Community Through Service of Prince William, Inc. (ACTS), a local charity which serves people in crises due to hunger, homelessness and interpersonal violence.
The Woodbridge Stake Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in charge of organizing the event and relied on approximately 300 volunteers – including many youth. In all 150 youth contributed to the volunteer effort. One of the participating youth was Hannah Griesmyer of Dale City. She said, “It is so interesting to have the youth here coming together and it is wonderful to help out – it warms the heart.”
Woodbridge Stake Relief Society President Pam Gauch said, “This annual Gifts of the Heart event draws together a diverse set of people in special ways, and we so appreciate all our volunteers.” She added, “It truly makes a difference for so many individuals and families who are in need of some kindness and relief.” The Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world. The Relief Society was established in 1842 for women 18 years of age and older and one of its central and fundamental goals is to help those in need.
Rooms throughout the church building located at 3718 Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge were full of clothing, shoes, books, electronic equipment, children’s toys, and a variety of household items. The gathering and donation of food items was also directly related to an effort the church has been directly involved with for several years called Day to Serve. Day to Serve is a unique annual initiative that unites people of all faiths, races, cultures, and backgrounds with the shared goal of helping those in need and improving the communities where we live. See more at http://daytoserve.org. 1,213 pounds of food was collected and donated to ACTS.
The Woodbridge Stake President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Clark Price, whose duties include overseeing and administering to the temporal and spiritual needs of thousands of individuals in Prince William County, said, “We live in an area of great material abundance, and so we must always be mindful of those brothers and sisters among us – whether of our faith or not – who need a loving hand.” He added, “Every day our church and other churches of multiple faiths are focused on helping people with daily challenges – overcoming material or spiritual hurdles.” President Price concluded, “This gathering and others like it represent the loving gospel of Jesus Christ in action.”
By Ian M. Houston, Director of Public Affairs for the Woodbridge Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints