Monday, May 2, 2011

The Cannery

The Cannery: Serving Our Neighbors
Darrel Hammon

Joanne and I went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( LDS) cannery, located in Aurora, Colorado, today. We participated in the noon to 4:00 p.m. shift. Our job was to can tomato soup. The impressive part of the experience was the majority of the work done in the Aurora cannery--and any other cannery throughout the world--was completed by volunteers.

About fifteen of us drove down in various vehicles. Joanne and I carpooled with two other members from our LDS ward (congregation). We had a great visit going down and coming back. It is nice to become better acquainted with people from your own ward.

One of the sisters who is serving a welfare mission with her husband in the cannery said a very profound thing: "We just canned enough tomato soup for 15,000 meals." Think of that: 15,000 meals! Instead of thinking about just putting tomato soup in cans, she thought of it as making meals.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints understands welfare needs. It understand humanitarian needs. It understands people's needs--throughout the entire world. I do not know of another organization that is so capable of helping their own while simultaneously so willing to help others.

Canneries are scattered through the world, canning tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, beans, peas, jams, peaches, turkey chunks, and a plethora of other commodities in order to help people in need, no matter where they live. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and non-members alike volunteer thousands and thousands and thousands of hours preparing food stuffs for people in need.

When there is an earthquake (Japan, Haiti, Chile), when there are tornadoes (midwest and the south), when there are floods (New Orleans), when there calamities throughout the world--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is there to help with food stuffs, vision care, clean water programs, hygiene training for families, wheel chairs, people ("Helping Hands"), emergency kits, and a host of other things (see

The great King Benjamin said: "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). Christ said: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:31). Part of loving your neighbor is serving him or her. And working in a cannery for a few hours helps us understand better our role in serving others.

We had a wonderful day in serving our neighbor, perhaps neighbors whom we may never know. Thank you for this experience. And we are sure there will be many, many more opportunities.

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