Youth from a variety of backgrounds, including hundreds of young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are assisting with hunger relief in Utah. They participated in 1 Million Meals, a service event held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on September 28.

Silicon Slopes, which represents Utah’s business community, has sponsored the 1 Million Meals service event for four consecutive years at its annual Silicon Slopes Summit. Hunger Fight, a Florida-based non-profit organization, arranged the event.

The 12–18-year-olds assisted with the packaging of meals for the Utah Food Bank, which will subsequently deliver the food to more than 260 food pantries in each of the state’s 29 counties. The lunches will subsequently be distributed to food-insecure households.

The president and CEO of the Utah Food Bank, Ginette Bott, expressed gratitude for the Church of Jesus Christ’s partnership with the institution.

“There has been a relationship between the two groups for over a century. … “[Both organizations] collaborate to benefit individuals in need, especially those who confront food poverty,” said Bott.

Brown sugar and oatmeal from bins were scooped into bags, sealed, and packed in boxes. After packing 42 bags, a box would be sealed and stacked, and volunteers would ring a cowbell in celebration.

The massive convention center’s main room was crowded with dozens of tables, each with at least eight volunteers wearing hairnets and gloves. Throughout the evening, a DJ played, periodically pausing to announce the amount of meals that had been prepared, which usually elicited a loud applause from the audience.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, President of the Church’s Utah Area, and Sister Sharon Eubank, Church of Jesus Christ director of Humanitarian Services, attended the occasion. They interacted with the youngsters and even assisted with food packaging.

Sister Eubank remarked on the great number of young ladies and men from all around the Salt Lake region who had gathered.

Sister Eubank said, “It’s blown the organizers away; they didn’t expect teenagers would care about this.”

Elder Pearson continued, “You ask them to come, and they turn up en masse.”

Sister Eubank also said that many of the participants are from other schools, religions, and backgrounds.

She continued, “This is a fantastic chance for them to get to know one other in various ways.”

Elder Pearson said, “To put a figure on it, these youngsters will prepare around 250,000 meals tonight. I am certain that we could recruit enough young people to accomplish well over a million on their own. The youngsters like serving.”

Jason, a resident of Provo, Utah, was eager to contribute to his community. He said that the occurrence reminded him of the biblical miracle in which Jesus Christ fed 5,000 people with bread and fish.

Jason said, “I believe this is our way of doing a minor miracle here.” “Seeing all these individuals come out exemplifies, I believe, the mindset Jesus wants us to have when it comes to helping others.”

On Thursday, September 29, and Friday, September 30, a larger number of Utahns will assist with the packaging of meals. Eric Farr, who helps head the Slopes Serves branch of Silicon Slopes, anticipates participation from more than 8,500 volunteers.

Farr said, “I believe it epitomizes who Utah is; it’s in our DNA to be givers, and it’s thrilling to bring the community together across all religions.”

Dean Porter, co-founder of Hunger Fight, said that around 1,100,000 meals would be prepared throughout these three days.

“We are fortunate to cooperate with groups such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Silicon Slopes… Porter expressed a desire “to organize events like this around the nation and assist individuals who are a little down on their luck.”

The next week, Hunger Fight will partner with the IT department of the Church to pack an additional 300,000 meals. On Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2022 in the United States), Hunger Fight will organize a similar service event at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

Mitch Sheridan, a youth leader present on Wednesday, said, “I believe all the kids are fantastic models of being Christlike, and I believe opportunities such as this are good ways for them to grow and demonstrate this in their life as followers of Christ.”

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