What began several months ago as a Relief Society service project is growing into a larger effort to help feed the homeless in New York City, according to a New York Stake public communication director.
Diana Murphy said the project began months ago when members of the New York 2nd Ward Relief Society began taking baked goods to a women's shelter at a local church. "We started donating monthly with the intention of building into something bigger," Sister Murphy said. "We wanted to see what kind of response we got first."The response was good and when a city-funded organization opened up a shelter for the homeless, the ward decided to start volunteering more than just food. They decided to volunteer their time. "We go down once a month and serve dinner," Sister Murphy explained. "But it's more than just dinner - that only takes four or five people. Most of the volunteers are spending time one-on-one with the people, hearing their stories, playing games, just interacting with them.
"Many members of the ward are starting to become involved," she continued. Even stake members are becoming involved and Sister Murphy hopes interest will continue to grow. church members are already making plans to help with the center's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. "It's such a wonderful opportunity. The impact has been tremendous, not just on the people at the center, but on the members themselves."
After spending time at the center last month, Steve Moore, an LDS artist, became interested in teaching art lessons. The center porvided the art supplies and the first lesson was held last week.
Participants watched slides and then took turns drawing eachother. "It went well," Moore said. "One fellow was actually quite good and it was nice to see the feeling of accomplishment he felt. Another man's drawing wasn't that good, but he was pleased to just be trying."