SOURCE: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

October 25, 2007 21:18 ET

LDS Church Helps Southern California Community Clean Up After Fires

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - October 25, 2007) - Nine semi trucks left Salt Lake City for Southern California today hauling 16,000 cleaning kits which will be distributed through local assistance centers -- centers set up by local governments to respond to the immediate needs of displaced families.

The cleaning kits -- five-gallon buckets packed with 14 items such as cleaners, sponges and gloves -- have been donated by the Humanitarian Emergency Response division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"The Church's first response was to provide shelter, food and supplies to evacuees and emergency personnel," said Elder John C. Dalton, a Church leader in Southern California. "Now that the fires have started to decrease in intensity, people will be allowed to return to their homes. The Church will continue its relief efforts by providing the needed cleanup supplies."

Mormons in the San Bernardino area spent most of Wednesday morning preparing over 2,000 meals -- 1,000 for evacuees staying at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino and 1,000 for firefighters and police.

"Providing meals became a priority for Church members after they learned that some firefighters had worked for 15 hours with no food," said Elder Dalton.

Carolyn Fenn, a local Church leader, was concerned because it had been difficult to get provisions to those who were fighting the fires in the mountains. Tuesday night Fenn, along with 30 Mormon missionaries and 50 volunteers, prepared 500 meals and delivered them to the firefighters' command center in Lake Arrowhead.

"Along with the sandwiches, we were able to deliver 100 dozen cookies baked by Church members. The firefighters appreciated the relief the food brought," Fenn said.

To date, the Church delivered five truckloads carrying a total of more than 28,000 blankets, 26,000 hygiene kits, processed foods, cots and other supplies to evacuees in the San Diego area. Blankets and hygiene kits were given to evacuees in the Lake Arrowhead/Running Springs area. Some 13 LDS chapels were used as temporary shelters.

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