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LDS missionaries assemble for service

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – At the Missionary Training Center in Provo, the holiday was all about the giving.
PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – At the Missionary Training Center in Provo, the holiday was all about the giving.

About 1,800 missionaries gave thanks by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

Turning their thoughts to others and taking their minds off of what can be a difficult time at the MTC.

"These are missionaries who are away from home on one of the most difficult holidays of the year, emotionally that's very heart wrenching," said Rick Foster with LDS Humanitarian Services.

Thursday, they got their minds off of that by teaming up with the Utah Food Bank to serve children, who otherwise may go without.

"Recently we moved to doing service projects every Thanksgiving and it makes me feel a lot less homesick to know that I’m doing the same thing my family is doing right now," said Sister Kate Wigginton of Sacramento, California.

Missionaries just like Wigginton, were assembled at 70 different stations.

They mixed rice, lentils, and dehydrated vegetables into an easy to make lentil casserole.

"Just boil water, add the soup mix, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then eat," said Foster.

Once the bags are sealed, they are boxed up, stacked on a pallet and shipped off to the food bank.

It's all part of the backpack program, where kids are sent home with food for the weekend.

"Families that live at or below the poverty line that have a challenge putting food on the table," said Foster.

The packets will end up in homes all across the state of Utah, but soon these service minded missionaries will turn their acts of kindness to people all over the world.

For Elder Wilson, it's the people of the Philippines, who are still recovering from the devastating storm that recently hit the area.

"This service we are doing right now it's actually helping me to prepare for what I’m going to go there and do for them and help out the people over there," said Wilson.

Missionaries determined to make a difference in word and deed.

"As Disciples of Christ we feel that acting and providing service to individuals is every bit as important as sharing the good word," said Foster.

About 350,000 packets were prepared Thursday and are now ready to be shipped off.

Last year the program provided enough food for about 69,000 back packs to be filled and sent home with Utah children.

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