Willy Linares’ responsibility of being a caregiver at home weighs heavily on his shoulders. When he heard that the Latter-day Saints Church was giving away food to anyone, he stopped by to get some help for his home.
“I’m a caregiver so why not bring food to an elder?” said Linares.
The Latter-day Saints Church Humanitarian Aid Center in Salt Lake City drove down a semi-truck filled with pallets of food, equivalent to 20 tons, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Saugus on Tuesday.
“They have a huge humanitarian relief center and we donate food all over the world, not just to people that are members of our faith, but to any people that are in need,” said Kathy Kellar, an event organizer for the LDS Church.
The Latter-day Saints Church utilized this food to host a drive-thru food drive, giving away food to anyone who drove through.
“We wanted to make sure that anyone who wanted to, could drive through,” said stake presidency counselor Scott Stratton.
The church hosts this food drive three times a year, but this was the first time the drive has been opened up to the entire Santa Clarita Valley community. Previously the food has been donated to organizations such as the Salvation Army, Santa Clarita Grocery and the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry.
“We’re hoping to give it all away,” said Stratton.
Recipients were able to receive up to four bags at the event, valued at $25 each. The bags included items such as peanut butter, pasta, cereal, soup, rice and beans.
They were asked a series of questions, such as how many members are in their household, to determine their need.
However, in order to receive one bag, there were no eligibility requirements.
“Our local church congregations are grateful to play a small part in helping individuals and families in our community,” wrote Stanley in a statement sent to The Signal. “Over the past few years, we recognize that there are many who have struggled to put food on the table. We express our gratitude for those who have generously made possible this food giveaway. Giving to those in need, whether financially or emotionally, will certainly make God’s children a little happier and bring joy to all involved.”
Dozens of members of the Latter-day Saints gathered to help unpack, organize and pack the food into the recipients’ cars.
Member Megan Haslam volunteered her time at the event and brought her kids along to instill in them the importance of giving back.
“We want them to feel like they are doing something of service,” said Haslam. “When you feel like you want to help your community in some way, it is always nice to feel like you can be useful somehow.”