This is the third year the Day of Giving was put together by the members of the Woodstock and Acworth congregations of the LDS Church. Preparation for the Day of Giving began in October when members of the congregations collected clothing, toys, books, and food donations from other LDS church members in the area, including Marietta, Canton, Ellijay and Holly Springs.
Even students from the Mill Creek Middle School Beta Club donated new baby clothes. And until the day of the event, members of the congregations sorted through and organized truckloads of donations.
They invited families from the CFVC, DFCS and a few other local families in need to partake from the donations.
“I think true religion is caring for the needy,” said Jonathan Ensign, the minister of the LDS Church in the Woodstock congregation. “It is about what we can do for our neighbors, and not what we preach from the pulpit. This Day of Giving gives us all an opportunity to do that. It opens our eyes to the struggles that are around us that we might be blind to.”
Last Saturday, a single mother from Guatemala came to the Day of Service event. She was assigned a personal shopper who grabbed three large blue Ikea shopping bags, then helped find the right size clothes, shoes, toys and other necessities for herself and her six children, organizers said.
Although she didn’t speak any English, her personal shopper, a member of the LDS Church, spoke to her in fluent Spanish. Together, they filled those three large shopping bags and more.
Then on her way out, another church volunteer handed her another reusable grocery bag filled with everything she needed to make her family a turkey dinner for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and a pack of diapers for her baby.
“They (the families) are so appreciative,” said volunteer Jeanne Wortham.
She had been a volunteer every year at the Day of Giving.
“And you do develop a friendship with them,” Wortham said.
The gym in the church was organized and packed wall-to-wall with shoes and clothes for children ranging from newborn to teenagers and adults. There were two other large classrooms that were also filled with children’s toys, books, baby bassinets, bikes, blankets and baby swings.
The eyes of the children and especially mothers of these families were overjoyed by the sight of used and even new items that were there for them to take for free, Ensign said.
“There are no strings attached here,” Ensign said. “There is no money involved. No one gets salary here. We are not asking for donations from them. And we are not passing out Books of Mormon. This is purely to see if we can help. We hope some of this would help the families going into Christmas.”
The Day of Giving service event lasted three hours and 80 families comprising more than 350 individuals came through and left with bags and bags filled with goods for their family, organizers said.
Transportation was provided and larger items were delivered to the shelter or their homes. The remainder of the donations were donated to Goodwill.
Also, David Schwieger from Scout Troop 50 completed his Eagle Scout project by building 100 feet of clothing racks to hang the dresses and nicer clothes.
When he tried to purchase materials from Home Depot to build the clothes rack, Home Depot donated the supplies to him. So he spent the excess $180 from his Eagle Scout project to purchase diapers to hand out to mothers with infants.
“I had helped out with the Day of Giving service in previous years,” said Schwieger, a junior at Woodstock High School. “They used to hang strings around the gym to hang some clothes and the rest of the clothes were in piles. We came up with the idea to build clothing racks so it would be easier for the families to see the clothes and find what they needed. I recognized that there was a need in our area to help the less fortunate. And anything we can do to make it easier for them to come get clothes that they need is great for the community.”