SALT LAKE CITY — Peaches and apricots from Utah ‘s 2008 abundant crop have been delivered to people in need throughout the United States.

Cases of peaches and apricots sent to food pantries

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experienced a bumper peach crop this year from its orchards in northern and southern Utah , according to Peter Evans, Welfare Services.

“Our two orchards were tended by volunteers over the summer, and then people from our local Church congregations picked over one million pounds of peaches during August and September.  Members canned the peaches at Church canneries in the southern Utah city of St. George and Lindon, in central Utah . This harvest greatly exceeded our expectations and will allow the Church to make a significant donation to food banks and assistance ministries around the country.”

Loading fruit into 18 semitrailers

The canned fruit was loaded into 18 semi-trucks and delivered to food pantries and Church storehouses in Georgia , Illinois , Colorado , Texas , Washington , Florida and Pennsylvania . Two semi-truck loads of peaches and apricots were also delivered to the Utah Food Bank.

Deseret Transportation delivered the fruit.

Assisting others is a basic tenet of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Do unto others,” said Evans. “We recognize the current economic turndown has affected people everywhere, and we’re grateful to share with food banks and other frontline agencies in their tremendous efforts to help people and communities in need.”

Hanover Township Food Panty in Bartlett , Illinois was one of six agencies to receive fruit.

One of the shipments arrived in Illinois , where six public agencies were waiting. Phyllis Gertney of the Palatine Township Food Pantry said, “We are currently assisting 220 families each month, and that number is rising all the time.”  She went on to say: “This is great — wonderful — especially in these economically difficult times.  And we really like to try and offer the families nutritious options, so this donation is especially welcome.”

Mormon Helping Hands unload fruit.

Bruce Gardner, bishop of the Elgin 3rd Ward in Lake in the Hills, Illinois, stated, “For me personally I was amazed to see the need that exists so close to home and so grateful that we have a program and the ability to help.”

“Fruit is always a popular commodity in our food pantry,” said Carole Little, President and CEO of Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) in Houston , Texas . “We are pleased to be able to offer healthy, balanced food items to families in need. We are so grateful for this generous gift of peaches and apricots. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always been such a good neighbor to NAM .”

The Church operates storehouses of food and other commodities, canneries, employment centers, storage and distribution facilities, and thrift stores throughout the world so that it can assist with short- and long-term needs.