News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pittsburgh area, counsel from its leaders, and reflections from its members.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Working with the Bishops' Storehouse

Elder and Sister Bublik, outgoing managers of the Brecksville OH Bishops' Storehouse, gave an excellent presentation to bishops and Relief Society presidents tonight on working effectively with the storehouse. Following are a few notes from the meeting, though I can't begin to reproduce the spirit of the meeting.

Elder and Sister Beaudin will begin serving as the new storehouse managers in early November.

1. Work Assignments

As in past years, assignments for our region will be in the summer months. Wards and branches should assign at least four individuals to work. Assignments begin at 9 A.M., though the managers recognize that due to the long distances involved our people may arrive a bit late. The goal is to end by 2 P.M., but the ending time is determined by when the work gets done. The storehouse serves lunch to workers, from the food products the storehouse supplies.

An assignment to work in the storehouse is a great teaching and learning opportunity. Ideal candidates to serve are priesthood and Relief Society leaders who will benefit by understanding the workings of the storehouse; recipients of goods from the storehouse, who will have the opportunity to give to others through serving there; and youth of YM/YW age and older, who can supply needed energy and will learn about how the Church cares for the poor and needy.

2. Completing Bishops' Orders

The storehouse needs to receive orders by about 10 days before the delivery date, to have time to purchase perishable items. The preferable way to submit orders is by mail. When orders need to be faxed (because there is an emergency and they are late) bishops should send the original order by mail on the same day. (The originals go to the main storehouse in Indianapolis for inventory and accounting purposes.)

Send orders to:
Brecksville Ohio Welfare Bishops' Storehouse
6900 Southpointe Parkway, Unit C
Brecksville, OH 44141
fax 440-838-4228
phone 440-526-4001

Order forms older than 2005 are out of date and should be discarded. Do not photocopy order forms; original forms are required. Dry soup mix has been discontinued, though it still appears on the current form.

Delivery address at the top of the form is the location where the truck delivers (e.g., Green Tree, Cranberry, Ashtabula, etc.) and not the home address of a welfare recipient. Be sure to highlight the delivery address if there may be confusion (e.g., in a ward where members may pick up food more than one location, say, Cranberry or Green Tree).

Please pay attention to whether items are ordered in individual units or pounds. For example, potatoes (10# bag), carrots (1# bag), apples and oranges (3# bags) are ordered by the pound, not the bag.

Four types of bread are available: white, whole wheat, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns. One loaf/bag is considered a unit. When ordering bread put the total number of units in the box, then detail in the notes what kinds of bread are wanted.

3. Humanitarian Donations

Bishops and branch presidents can work with their stake or district presidents to request up to $1,000 of food for a local tax-exempt organization, such as a food bank, shelter, pantry, or the like. A bishop or branch president may learn about an organization's need from a member or another source. If he feels the Church can help meet the need he can approach the organization to learn more.

The organization needing the donation should make a written request, including its 501(c)(3) tax exemption number. The bishop or branch president should work with the organization to complete the Humanitarian Storehouse Items form (rather than the standard Bishop's Order), specifying a few items that are most needed and assigning priorities. He then sends the request to his stake or district president. (Use the $1,000 Humanitarian cover ltr. form.) If the president concurs he sends the order with his recommendation to the agent stake president (Pres. Titera of the Cleveland OH Stake) for his approval, who in turn sends the order to the storehouse to fill. The storehouse can deliver the humanitarian donation on its normal delivery schedule. The organization should arrange to pick up the donation at the delivery location. See "$1,000 Humanitarian Storehouse Guidelines" for more details.)

The Church encourages bishops to request humanitarian donations of food from the storehouse to meet legitimate community needs.

Elder and Sister Bublik bore fervent testimony of the blessings they have received from serving in the storehouse and of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. Thank you, Elder and Sister Bublik, for your faithful service to the Pittsburgh PA Welfare Region.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Arbor - October 2008

The October issue of The Arbor, published by Annette Lillrose, Addiction Recovery Program Coordinator for LDS Family Services, features insights from individuals the program has blessed and a helpful list of Addiction Recovery Program meetings throughout our welfare region, along with contact information.

Quit Smoking Now

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has a Web page that can connect individuals who want to quit smoking with resources to help them. Included is a map of the counties of Pennsylvania. Clicking on a county brings up a list of agencies in the county that offer smoking cessation services, including counseling and structured assistance to quit.

Voluntary Organizations

In September the U.S. Government Accountability Office published an interesting report on the place of voluntary organizations in responding to disasters. The description of the Red Cross's role was particularly interesting: "The Red Cross is realigning its regional chapters to better support its local chapters and improve efficiency and establishing new partnerships with local community-based organizations. Most recently, however, a budget shortfall has prompted the organization to reduce staff and alter its approach to supporting FEMA and state emergency management agencies."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Preparedness Testimony from Texas

Elder Jan Hintze of the Ridgway Branch, serving with his wife as a full-time missionary in Alaska, sent the following testimony from a friend in Texas:

"We have a 6'x6' hole in our roof, no electricity or running water, Trees down everywhere. However, because we listened to the counsel of our Prophet we are prepared.

"There is a POD or Point of Distribution in Tomball where we live. There you get water and ice IF you have enough fuel to wait in the 3-hour lines. We don't have to do that because we have 3 full water barrels, 75 juice bottles filled with water, and our pool, which is dirty, but we use it to flush.

"It is very difficult to get gas. Police guard the stations when fuel is delivered and you might wait half a day to get up to the p ump just to have them say, 'Too bad, we are out.'

"The ATM machines do not have power. For the past 6 months I have stashed small bills away because I have had such a feeling of foreboding. We have cash because of that. LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT. Get cash in small bills because the stores can't make change and credit and debit cards often don't work. I had to pay 5 dollars more for an item because they couldn't make change for me.

"I have such a testimony of following the counsel of our living prophet. There really is safety and peace in your heart if you are prepared. It's overwhelming, but it's going to be okay eventually. I have a home, I have food, and I have water, because I listened to the counsel of the prophet."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quilts and Kits

Elder Gary and Sister Sandy Reed, Area Welfare Specialists for the entire North America Northeast Area, sent along the following advice to Relief Societies today:

"Over the past few weeks we have gotten several request to ship Relief Society projects to Salt Lake (quilts, hygiene kits, etc.).

"We love that the Relief Society has a 'Welfare Heart,' but there is a better way to handle these things than to pay to ship them to Salt Lake, have them inspected to make sure that they fit the guidelines, store them, and then pay to ship them right back to us when we have an emergency.

"Our first choice in the Eastern States would be for the Relief Society to have in mind a LOCAL agency that would benefit from their project and that gifting would help build good relationships in the community.

"Our second choice would be to check with us and see if there is a project in the works that would benefit from their help. For example, we have a burning need for school kits just now. We could use thousands of them. We need baby quilts; we can place all that we could get. We need hygiene kits always.

"Full-sized quilts are hard to place sometimes. Think about it. People in shelters sleep on cots. Most disasters happen in the warmer months and warmer places where quilts are just not needed. It may be more fun to make beautiful quilts and if that's the case, give them locally to someone who will cherish them."

These guidelines will be good to keep in mind when Relief Societies are looking for projects they can undertake for humanitarian aid.