CHARLOTTE – More than 100 women recently gathered at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to participate in a day of service benefiting seven local organizations.
They helped Pineville Neighbors Place, Hospitality House, Levine Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, Kangaroo Kids, the Humane Society, and Charlotte Square Assisted Living Center.
The theme for this women’s conference was “Believe, Love, Serve.”
Terilyn Clay, president over the south Charlotte groups of the Relief Society, the women’s organization of the church, began the event by asking, “How many of you have indelible memories of a service someone provided for you? How many of you have a treasured memory of someone who needed help that you provided?”
Charlotte resident Eva Fisher, a young mother of three boys, shared her experience of growing up in a large family of very modest means in which offering service was a family tradition.
“We don’t have much money, but we can give of our time,” she recalled her father saying. “That is what we have.”
Another speaker, Weddington resident Deb Skea, spoke about how she found relief from feelings of darkness and depression when she began volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
She shared this Chinese proverb: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap … if you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
The participants chose which organization they wanted to serve based on their interests and skills.
In one room, an assembly line was created to assemble the pages for a medical binder called “The Pouch” for the local family-run nonprofit Kangaroo Kids. In a couple of hours, the women assembled 60 of these binders that will be given to parents of children with chronic medical conditions.
Latter-day Saint Caitlin Lewis has been the recipient of one of these binders.
“The Kangaroo Kids binder is a life-saver,” Lewis said. “My 7-year-old son has had 13 major surgeries… When there is an unexpected emergency, my mind is going a million different directions. I can’t remember the details of his surgeries or his exact allergic reactions in that moment. With the binder, I can just hand it over and the medical professionals have all the information they need.”
In another room, women assembled 100 snack bags for families staying at the Hospitality House before heading across the street to share Rice Krispy treats with residents living at the Charlotte Square assisted living center.
Charlotte resident Amee Roome chose to travel with a group to Pineville Neighbors Place to help organize their food pantry and do other small jobs.
“I wanted to serve in their facility, meet the director, and interact with those who are making a difference in the Pineville community,” she said.
Other projects that were completed: 100 Beads of Courage bags for Levine Children’s Hospital, 180 heart magnets for teachers at Sterling Elementary School, many cat and dog toys for the Humane Society of Charlotte, and St. Patrick’s Day decorations for the Ronald McDonald House.
“There is something very special that happens when women of faith come together under the banner of service,” expressed Kim Button, director of the women’s conference. “I was very busy hot-gluing my fingers together every three minutes making decorations for the Ronald McDonald House, but I observed the miracle that happens when women sit and serve together.”