In 2005, hurricanes ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast, causing billions of dollars of damage and displacing over a million people. In the aftermath of the disaster, the Church hastened to assist. Hundreds of thousands of hygiene kits, school kits and other items were assembled and distributed. Thousands of members from all over the United States traveled to affected areas, providing more than 300,000 hours of service clearing trees, cleaning debris and leaving in their wake profound feelings of gratitude and friendship.
During the months that followed, letters poured in, expressing thankfulness for a little human kindness in a time of distress. What follows are a few excerpts from those letters.“We spent months living in cars, boxes, the woods. Anywhere close to our homes. There was no way to be clean. Family members were getting sick. Babies were diaperless, no food, no milk. What money our family had was used just to send for these things. Now the money has run out…. The items you sent have been like a light from God on a very black day. I thank God for you and your kindness….Your sweet gesture has let me know I will never be ignored by God.” “Thank you so much for the wonderful gifts….How did you know I love Ivory soap? … Please thank the people who donated these gifts as they are much appreciated. Also please tell the charity workers who pack them so neat with loving hands that they are doing God’s work.” “It fills us with joy to know that someone cares. We are very thankful. Since not many stores are open, your supplies helped. A lot of people are having a hard time, but people like you are helping us get through this…. Thanks for caring, but most of all sharing.” “They gave us all one black pail and bleach to clean up our property. I would have never thought of that, but God gave it to your organization. So again, thank you for everything you gave us…. Most of all thank you for opening up your hearts to us.” — Neil K. Newell, Welfare Services