The following letter from the First Presidency to members of the Church in Utah has been released to the media for publication:
Dear Brethren and Sisters:
Members of the Church have been counseled throughout the ages to care for the poor and needy among us. We have learned that requests for food received by the Utah Food Bank exceed those for the same period last year by more than 21%. To help meet these growing needs, we ask for your help in providing "A Christmas Gift to the Needy."
It is requested that on December 11th, households donate a shopping bag of canned and/or nonperishable food items to the Utah Food Bank for distribution to those in need. Although a paper sack will be sent out with copies of the Deseret Morning News and Salt Lake Tribune prior to this date, any type of bag may be used for this purpose. High protein items such as canned meats and peanut butter are especially welcome.
The donated items are to be taken to Church meetinghouses according to the schedule arranged by the bishop. The bishop or stake leaders should then make arrangements to transport the items to the nearest Utah Food Bank or partner agency. If a ward/stake is some distance from one of these locations, arrangements may be made for the agency to pick up the donated items. Should there be questions regarding this matter, please contact the Utah Food Bank at (801) 908-8660.
We encourage Church members to give generously to this worthy cause and assist in caring for those in need.
Sincerely your brethren,