Hurricane Irene left much devastation in her wake. Power outages and floodwaters impacted millions of people along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. But in the community of Hope, N.J., on Sept. 2, the Achievement Day girls from the Clinton Ward, Morristown New Jersey Stake, offered hope as they joined to collect apples that would be delivered to many of those affected by the hurricane.
Brenda Baxter Bradshaw, public affairs assistant director for the Morristown New Jersey Stake, reported that one local farmer in Hope lost one-third of his apple crop during the storm. The Clinton Ward Primary girls, ages 8 through 11, put on yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests and gathered the apples off the ground before they rotted.
Among those who helped was 11-year-old Sarah Faith Bradshaw, daughter of Sister Bradshaw. With the help of her mom, Sarah wrote of her experience.
"Working side by side, we collected apples that filled a giant box," wrote Sarah. "The delicious, free apples were delivered to people in the area who were having a hard time in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene."
Members of the Clinton Ward and citizens of the community harvested more than 3,000 pounds of apples that were donated to New Jersey Agricultural Society's Farms Against Hunger.
"We were glad that our small efforts produced something great for others," Sarah wrote.
"The Activity Day girls knew just what to do," Sister Bradshaw observed.
This was the second "gleaning" by the Clinton members. Sister Bradshaw said that because of earlier efforts in July, the New Jersey organization America's Grow-a-Row asked if volunteers would be available to rescue an apple orchard.
On July 23, families from the Clinton Ward in the Morristown New Jersey Stake braved 100-degree heat as they responded to the invitation of President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, to participate in a day of service. For many of the Primary-age girls, that was the first time they donned the yellow vests. More than 2,500 volunteers from throughout the tri-state area participated in service projects that day. Sixty members of the Clinton Ward harvested about 6,500 pounds of corn that was donated to local food banks.
"Today we participated in the 21st century version of the ancient Israelite tradition of gleaning, where inspired landowner/farmers left behind parts of their harvest for the less fortunate, who, by the sweat of their own brows, were thereby able to meet the needs of their families," said Stuart Smith, second counselor in the Morristown New Jersey Stake presidency. "We felt blessed today to be able to do the gleaning."