Pure religion: The milk depot

In 1932, when I was a senior in high school, our Pioneer Stake presidency in Salt Lake City was thinking of ways to help the people of our stake who were in dire need. Our stake president assigned the Relief Society presidency to contact the local dairies in the city about donating milk for destitute people.

The stake Relief Society presidency approached a small family-owned dairy nearby with their plan. The owner of the dairy agreed to give the stake milk on condition that anyone could have it and not just members of our Church. They agreed to give four five-gallon cans of skim milk twice a week, Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

Our home was chosen as the milk depot. It was announced that people could come for milk starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. on Saturdays. The people came, bringing their containers to hold the milk.

One Saturday, a little boy about eight or nine years old came to the door for milk. He was late, and the milk was gone. When I told him, he just stood there with big tears in his eyes. I think I was as hurt as he was that the milk was gone. As he started to walk away, I called to him and told him to wait a minute. I went into the house and told my dad about it. He came out and took a quart of milk out of the old ice box and poured it into the little boy's bucket. He told him the times the milk was available and to be early. That little boy came every Wednesday and Saturday; and if he wasn't the first in line, he was the second.

One day, the boy's father came with him, wanting to talk to the person who was responsible for giving the milk. I went in and got Dad, who invited the man into the house. Several months later at the Sunday dinner table, Dad said, "Remember the man who came with the little boy for milk?"

Yes, we remembered him.

"Well," said Dad, "he and his whole family have joined the Church."

Over the years, I have often thought of the "milk depot," and I have told and retold the story many times to my children and grandchildren. — As told to Elder Glen L. Rudd by Ruth Hyde Torkelson

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