by Kelly J. Larson, Austin Area Public Affairs Coordinating Council Media Specialist
AUSTIN, Texas — Casually dressed missionaries, accessorized with smiles and black name tags representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, assisted furloughed federal government employees during the shutdown, loading and sorting food and essentials at the Central Texas Food Bank on Jan. 16 in Austin, Texas.
The 95 full-time missionaries who volunteered to help provide food for the furloughed employees normally serve in Leander, Cedar Park, Austin, Round Rock, New Braunfels, Seguin, Yorktown, Kyle, Buda, Bastrop, Lockhart, Dripping Springs, Llano, Marble Falls, Pflugerville, Rockdale, Elgin, Georgetown and San Marcos.
President of the Texas San Antonio Mission, Todd Polley and his wife, DoraLea Polley, were among the volunteers, leading by example, wearing aprons while packing onions, carrots and potatoes at the food bank.
Volunteers played a key role in getting food into the hands of individuals in need. The Church of Jesus Christ’s missionaries, Elder Ethan Morgan, 19, from Redondo Beach, California, and his companion, Elder Berick Smith, 20, from Vancouver, Washington, assisted people in loading their cars, redistributing a food-filled wagon for four hours.
Morgan said, “It was amazing being able to talk to the different people and help them. They really appreciated it. We were really tired after four hours, but the day wasn’t over yet.”
Central Texas Food Bank held the special one-day event, a distribution and resource fair for federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown at the Austin area facility located at 6500 Metropolis Drive. The Latter-day Saint volunteers assisted in the distribution of more than $8,000 of food for individuals and families in need.