Welfare Moment: The Value of a Chocolate Coin

Contributed By Alan J. Parker, Church News contributor

  • 1 August 2017

A bishops’ storehouse provides food for someone in need.

In 2007, my wife, Kathleen, and I served as service missionaries in the Logan Utah Bishops’ Storehouse in Logan, Utah. Our calling was to provide support and service to the storehouse as a day-to-day business—mopping floors, unloading trucks, cleaning onions, and bagging fruits and vegetables. Our most choice assignment was to assist all of the good people who had received an itemized shopping list from their bishop.

Assist, comfort, and provide

They came to the storehouse from a variety of nations, cultures, and religious beliefs. All of them had one thing in common: they were in need and asked the Lord for help.

We were not on a teaching mission. We were called to assist, comfort, and provide daily needs of groceries, clothing, cleaning supplies, and even a Thanksgiving turkey. A happy face, a kind thought, and sometimes a hug can change a person’s outlook on life.

A different way to teach

My wife and I came upon the idea of giving our customers a blessing to take home with them. We first obtained a small velvet bag. It was royal purple in color with two gold pull ties to close the top. We filled it with dollar-sized gold coins filled with a chocolate surprise inside. On each coin we placed a small word: faith, hope, love.

As our customers finished shopping, we helped them exit the storehouse and load their vehicles, sometimes in the rain or snow. As we finished and were saying goodbye, we would bring out the royal purple velvet bag with the two gold pull ties. As we pulled the top open, we would remove one gold coin and place it in their hand.

“This is for you. You can see by the word on the coin that you can bring more love into your life. When you get home, and all is quiet and still, perhaps before you go to sleep, take the chocolate from the coin and place it in your mouth. As it slowly melts, please remember that your Father in Heaven loves you!”

The love is real

We do not know the results of our actions to our brothers and sisters. However, the response from two individuals taught us that the love our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, have for all of Father’s children is real.

One woman burst back into the bishops’ storehouse and asked the director, “Who was that lady?” With tears in her eyes, she asked again, “Where is she? I have to thank her.” After a hug and a “thank you,” she went on her way, a changed and happier person.

A large man with a rough and rugged background did not say a word when he was given the chocolate coin, but just prior to departing, he was heard to say to himself, “My Father in Heaven loves me!”

—Alan J. Parker is a member of the Lewiston 2nd Ward, Richmond Utah Stake.