Officials at Crosslines Ministries in Joplin received a 20-ton Christmas present a week before the big holiday.
The gift — 27 pallets inside a trailer, or 41,000 pounds of food — was unloaded for the food pantry as a donation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 18. The food had traveled 1,200-plus miles from Salt Lake City to 320 S. School Ave. in Joplin.
“They were overwhelmed by the immense donation,” said Daisy Crawford about the reaction from the Crosslines officials. She dubbed the moment a “beautiful Christmas miracle,” as the food almost filled the Joplin-based Crosslines warehouse.
The gift, from the church’s welfare program, “is to care for those in need while teaching principals that promote self-reliance and self-respect,” said Dennis Carrier, Joplin Missouri Stake for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A network of church-related farms, mills, canneries, storage silos, processing plants and warehouses made the food, which is then stored in one of more than 100 “bishop storehouses” in the U.S. and Canada. From these locations, the food is shipped — free of charge — to charitable organizations that most need them.
“This year, the church produced more food than it needed for its own facilities, and it notified regional leaders for help identifying good organizations to share the food with,” Carrier said.
Carrier’s original request for the surplus to come to Joplin, sent and approved by the church’s stake presidency, was to send two truckloads of food, to be split between Crosslands and Children’s Haven in Joplin.
“It is my understanding that each stake is authorized to request one humanitarian food shipment per year,” Carrier said. A normal load is roughly four pallets worth of food. The Joplin donation, in comparison, was huge.
But because to limited storage space at Children’s Haven when the first truck arrived, the food could not be delivered. Food ranged from cans of beef stew and pears to bags of green beans and cheese. The truck, he said, made its way over to Crosslines.
“The full truckload,” Carrier said, “was a challenge for even Crosslines’ facility, but they worked it out. I assisted in unloading the truck. When I left, they had all but about six or seven pallets in their warehouse.”
Once food distribution or the day was conducted, the rest was brought into the warehouse.
As for Children’s Haven, Carrier is now coordinating with both organizations for the transfer of about 50 cases (one pallet) of food to that organization. It is scheduled for after the beginning of the new year.
“I knew there were needs in our community that were not being filled and that other organizations were doing what they could to help,” Carrier said. “With this surplus, I felt we could help these organizations and in turn help those in need.”
Carrier understands there is still one more truckload donation of food still to make its way to Joplin at some point down the road: “We are hoping that we can still get the load for the Joplin area,” with donations from that truck benefitting Water Gardens and Mission Joplin.
“As a church, we are grateful to be able to support the wonderful work that Crosslines does here in our community, especially during this time of year when we celebrate the birth and life of our savior Jesus Christ,” Carrier said.