Sisters in the Sacramento California North Stake came together prior to the General Relief Society Women’s Conference on September 27, 2008 with a purpose; to serve the St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children.
Sacramento North Stake Relief Society President Grace Evert asked Stake Specialist Shauna Wetenkamp to put together a meaningful service project that the relief society sisters could do prior to Women’s Conference. Shauna knew of the St. John’s Women’s Shelter whose Mission Statement is: Support homeless women and children to advance from a point of crisis to a position of self-sufficiency.
Shauna also has a personal reason to support the shelter- she has a sister who not long ago was on the streets. She stayed at a shelter in her area that was for women and children (she was pregnant at the time). Shauna said “when she told me of her experiences it made me realize that we, in the church, don’t often turn to help in our communities as often as we should”.
St. John’s Women and Children Shelter is a shelter in the community that helps women to get off the streets and stay off the streets. They have a program that helps them get jobs, learn skills and set goals to help transform their lives. It’s not just a bed to sleep in at night; it’s a commitment for a better life for the women and their children.
The project for the Relief Society sisters was to assemble “kid kits”. The kits included a canvas bag, a stuffed animal, a good book, a coloring book and crayons. The sisters also cleaned and made ready books that would be donated to the library at the shelter.
The Humanitarian Room at Deseret Industries donated many of the items used for the kits and also yarn, crochet hooks and knitting needles for the women who wanted to learn how to knit or crochet. Sister Wetenkamp also arranged for the sisters to donate new underwear and fresh home-baked cookies. The shelter was happy to receive the cookies. One of the women at the shelter said they love LDS cooking!
After the kits were assembled and ready to go, the sisters went to the chapel to watch the Women’s Conference. During her talk General Relief Society President Julie B. Beck gave three responsibilities that Relief Society sisters and the organization as a whole are charged to fulfill.
The third responsibility of all women of the church is to serve the Lord and His children. How satisfied and grateful were the hearts of the women of the Sacramento California North Stake as they knew they had just fulfilled that purpose together.