Sitting in Tuesday morning's sun on the airport tarmac, the 150,000 pounds of relief supplies bound for Samoa bore product descriptions and the recognized logos of the LDS Church and Islamic Relief USA.

The most poignant markings, however, were the Samoan messages penned by cargo worker Tasi Toala, who helped load the supplies destined for Samoa.

A week earlier, an 8.3-magnitude earthquake and four ensuing tsunami waves devastated parts of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. Among the nearly 200 dead were eight members of Toala's family in Samoa.

With a heavy heart and tear-impeded vision, he scrawled notes on pallet packaging — to be found when workers in Samoa unload the DC-10 jumbo jet the Magna resident helped load at Salt Lake City International Airport.

"I just send my love to all of Samoa," said Toala of the messages, which included hand-drawn hearts, his name and his e-mail address.

With tears streaming down his cheeks, he excused himself and rejoined co-workers.

Toala's presence put a face — and an emotion — on Tuesday's shared effort by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Islamic Relief, partners for several years in providing, transporting and distributing humanitarian relief throughout the world.

Tuesday's shipment to Samoa included food, clothing, bedding, hygiene kits, mosquito netting, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and canes, with the LDS Church providing the goods totaling more than $500,000 in value.

Islamic Relief led out among the organizations and private donors in arranging for the DC-10 to transport the goods, with the flight costs estimated at just less than $500,000.

The supplies — enough to provide care for 2,000 for three to four weeks — are headed for Samoa. American Samoa is a U.S. territory, and the federal government is overseeing emergency and relief efforts there.

Dozens of Samoan villages were destroyed, with hundreds of families losing homes, belongings and livelihoods.

"Many of the people are up in the hills under tarps, with nothing but the clothes on their backs," said Elder James J. Hamula of the LDS Church's Quorums of the Seventy and second counselor in its Pacific Area presidency.

"This shipment ministers to the temporal needs of the people that are just as important as to ministering to the spiritual needs," he said, calling Islamic Relief "a great partner through the years."

Added Mostafa Mahboob, communications director for Islamic Relief USA: "As things like this happen throughout the world, we put our resources together."

Other previous shared-relief projects range from responding to Pakistani earthquakes and Hurricane Katrina to collaborating with Islamic Relief's "Day of Dignity," providing aid to the homeless and needy in 19 U.S. cities during Islam's sacred month of Ramadan.

A subsequent airlift is being considered, said Lynn Samsel, the LDS Church's director of humanitarian emergency response. That would include more goods for Samoa, with the jet then delivering supplies to Indonesia, which last week suffered its own deadly earthquake.

The initial Samoan shipment left Utah Tuesday afternoon and was to arrive late Tuesday night Samoan time, with distribution expected to begin midday Wednesday.

One challenge, however, is that the bottom of the DC-10's cargo door is 17 feet off the ground, and the Samoan airport's forklift reaches 14 feet. That means each pallet must be unloaded box by box — so the four-hour Salt Lake loading will be countered by a 12-hour effort by dozens of workers and volunteers in Samoa.

The shipment is one of many LDS humanitarian efforts currently under way. Samsel listed off others — flooding in Istanbul, Turkey; flooding in the state of Georgia; and the typhoon-caused flooding in the Philippines and Vietnam.

The Welfare Department just received approval to initiate efforts to help after severe flooding in India, he added.

In Samoa, besides the deaths of two-dozen church members and injuries to scores more, the LDS Church lost two meetinghouses, with some damage sustained to other meetinghouses and the recently rebuilt Apia Samoa Temple.

A visible casualty at the temple: Moroni's trumpet has fallen off.

Before leaving the cargo terminal, Elder Hamula reflected on his interaction earlier with Toala.

"He expressed gratitude to me for the church's efforts to help," he said, having shared tears and an embrace. "You see, this touches not only people there, but people here."

e-mail: taylor@desnews.com