LDS Volunteers, Community Help Refugees on Christmas Eve

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 31 December 2015

Kacey Olson and her daughters Ashlyn and Ally help Hawo Bulle pick out winter hats as about 300 volunteers gather Christmas Eve morning at the old Granite High School in South Salt Lake to distribute two semi-trailer loads of donated goods to refugee families Thursday, December 24, 2015.  Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Hundreds of Latter-day Saint volunteers joined with other community members to serve some 600 refugee families in the Salt Lake Valley on December 24.

SOUTH SALT LAKE, UTAH

Hundreds of Latter-day Saint volunteers joined with other community members to serve some 600 refugee families in the Salt Lake Valley on December 24. The project—sponsored by the Granite Education Foundation, Utah Refugee Center, and the Refugee & Immigrant Center–Asian Association of Utah—provided hygiene products, clothes, coats, and toys for local refugees.

Deb Coffey, executive director of Utah Refugee Center, said the project was possible because Utah has many families in need and many families willing to help. “Hundreds and hundreds of people have stepped up,” she said. Some 300 volunteers gathered Christmas Eve morning in the old Granite High School auditorium, located on 3300 South and 500 East in South Salt Lake, to distribute two semi-trailer loads of donated goods.

“It feels right to be serving [on Christmas Eve],” said Michael Mann, a returned missionary from Draper, Utah.

Refugee Hawo Bulle, the mother of nine children, said she is grateful for the aid. “We will have a good Christmas,” she said.

Rick Foster of Church Welfare Services said the generosity of local Latter-day Saints helped, in large measure, to make the effort possible.

Andy and Kacey Olson spent the morning with their children serving refugees. “We have been so blessed, we are so happy to give to those that have less,” said Kacey Olson. “This is what Christmas is all about.”

Michael Mann and Jake Owen carry items out to the families as about 300 volunteers gather Christmas Eve morning at the old Granite High School in South Salt Lake to distribute two semi-trailer loads of donated goods to refugee families Thursday, December 24, 2015. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Noah Williams checks a coat list as about 300 volunteers gather Christmas Eve morning at the old Granite High School in South Salt Lake to distribute two semi-trailer loads of donated goods to refugee families Thursday, December 24, 2015. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

About 300 volunteers gather Christmas Eve morning at the old Granite High School in South Salt Lake to distribute two semi-trailer loads of donated goods to refugee families Thursday, December 24, 2015. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Ram Ceuthawng looks at items on the tables as about 300 volunteers gather Christmas Eve morning at the old Granite High School in South Salt Lake to distribute two semi-trailer loads of donated goods to refugee families.

About 300 volunteers gather Christmas Eve morning at the old Granite High School in South Salt Lake to distribute two semi-trailer loads of donated goods to refugee families Thursday, December 24, 2015. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.