GREENEVILLE — More than 250 teenagers attending a youth conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Tusculum University learned the value of serving others with a project that will assist those who are experiencing a crisis.
On June 21, these teens assembled 3,000 emergency kits, which will be designated for people who have been displaced by incidents such as fires, floods and earthquakes and do not have access to basic necessities.
The project is a partnership between the LDS church and Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, which will distribute the packages.
The kits, which fit in a gallon-size storage bag, contain shampoo, toothpaste, tissues, nail clippers, bandages, socks, a bar of soap, a comb, a toothbrush, a wash cloth and a hand towel.
“Usually, when we have these types of conferences, service work is the experience that makes the biggest impression on them,” said Aaron Rust, youth leader of the Pembroke, Virginia, stake of The Church of Jesus Christ. “That helps steer them in a good direction in their life going forward.”
Dr. Madison Sowell, Tusculum’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, commended the youth and the church for their work.
“Civic engagement is an important component of Tusculum’s mission, and we are pleased to see this conference include this project as a major activity,” he said. “Recipients of these items will be experiencing extremely challenging times, and to experience God’s love through these teenagers’ work will be a blessing to them.”
Kenedi Annett, a Latter-day Saint from Jonesborough, was one of the teenagers assembling the kits. She understands from her own life experience the power of someone else’s assistance.
“In a way, it means a lot because growing up sometimes my family didn’t experience the easiest of times,” she said. “We would be in rough spots. There were times we didn’t have a house to live in because of a natural disaster or other circumstances, so people would help us and take us into their house.”
The Church of Jesus Christ paid for the majority of the costs for the items in the kits but also received donations from Alta Ridge Foot Specialists, Hendersonville Family Dental, Mills River Family Dental, Cannon Dental, Carolina Smiles, Don Mintz Builders and the Rotary Club of Blacksburg, Virginia.