Peaches, pears, pancake mix and hygiene products were among the 36,000 pounds of food and supplies donations to arrive in Gainesville on Saturday for local Hurricane Irma victims.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, sent two 36,000-pound shipments on trucks to be delivered to different food pantries in the area Sept. 17 and Saturday, including the Ronald McDonald House, located at 1600 SW 14th St.; Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, located at 630 NW Second St.; Peaceful Paths, located at 2100 NW 53rd Ave. and the Fountain of Life Church in Williston.
“As members of the church,” said Melissa Palmer, the director of public affairs for LDS. “One of our big goals is to make sure we serve in the community and try to alleviate any pain or suffering if we can.”
The church in Salt Lake City had the semitrailers loaded and ready to go before the hurricane even hit. The supplies delivered will go to victims in the area from Ocala to Jacksonville.
Douglas Carter, a LDS church leader, said the church hopes to improve the lives of others with its donations.
“Natural disasters like Hurricane Irma create human suffering and need, and an opportunity to reach out to our fellow man in a manner consistent with the teachings of our scriptures,” Carter said.
While the first donation from Sept. 17 has already been distributed, food and supplies from Saturday’s delivery will be distributed this week. On Wednesday, student volunteers between the ages of 12 and 18 will load four trailers with 5,000 pounds of food and supplies, each to be delivered to local food pantries.
“It has been a cool couple of weeks despite the tragedy.” Palmer said. “It’s a cool way to unite the church and community, it’s nice to be able to help out.”