While living in Salt Lake, Roland and I had several opportunities to assist with the welfare program. When Jenna was in first and second grade, I tried going to the cannery at least one a month. For the most part, the items were actually in bottles and not in cans - at least at the one I went to.
I have been to another location that does actual cans - food like chili, beans, tomato sauce - mostly messy stuff. Roland and I would work as a team at the pasta plant - or I would team with one of our boys. We'd assist at the dairy, storehouse, and DI. All of these locations could be driven to in 20 minutes or less.
In Oregon we don't seem to have as much opportunity to assist with the Church's welfare program due to our location. Even to be recipient of the welfare program is a lot different from driving oneself to the storehouse to pick up an order. From what we are told, orders are shipped from a city larger than Roseburg.
We have not had the need to be recipients of the welfare program in Oregon - and hopefully will not have to rely on that. We had been recipients in Utah probably at least half of Jenna's life (different years off and on). There isn't anything wrong with being recipients - except that it indicates to me tha we are financially disabled. At the same time I LOVE church cheese and BYU creamery chocolate milk and many products that we get at the bishops storehouse.
The bishops storehouse offers a lot in the way of fresh produce as well as canned goods. We have had many canned good put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Beans, spaghetti sauce, soup, assorted canned vegetables, jellies, honey, peanut butter, fruit. Of the fruit, we mostly liked the canned peaches and pears and applesauce.
I don't recall a welfare project in which the members canned fruit in Salt Lake. Today I learned that the pears are canned in Idaho. I have also been told that the Church's only pear farm is located in Medford, Oregon. We were told that 80 volunteers from our stake (church boundary) were needed to pick pears today.
Originally we had planned on taking Jenna with us and have her pick pears with us. We were told that the youth had to be at least twelve and Jenna just turned eleven in April. I had tried to make other arrangements for leaving her with someone, but ended up taking her anyway.
I set the alarm for 3:20 a.m. We were on the road by 4:00 a.m. and arrived in Medford just before 5:30. We signed in at 5:30 to 10:00. We were also told to give ourselves credit for the three hour travel (or whatever other amount was given.) We ended signing Jenna up to pick with us, no questions asked. She was fine. The farm was fine. No harm. No accident. I saw some youth there that looked to be a lot younger than her. And I saw some who were obviously in the Young Men's program that weren't working with the same effort that Jenna put in.
Jenna and I had picked pears before at my mom's house. Picking from an orchard is a lot different than having Brian or Patrick shake the branches while the rest of us glean from the ground. The government has placed stipulations and the Church is not allowed to use pears that have fallen to the ground. That is so sad as the amount of pears that have fallen to the ground were many - pears that are still edible. Pears that fell to the ground when another pear was picked. It was hard having to leave them on the ground.
In addition to her pear tree, my mom also had at least two pine trees in her backyard (they were put there before I got married and continued to grow long after I moved out) I remember that she would offer to pay the younger grandchildren a penny a pinecone. I think pears may have been worth more. I know I spent more time gleaning pears from the ground than picking them off the tree. I think that honor went to Patrick's family.
The rows of trees were long. They seemed to get longer as the morning hours pressed forward. The length between the last pear tree that weighed my bag to "too heavy for comfort" and the bin in which to "carefully let the pears out of the bag" seemed like miles. Their goal was to fill over 100 bins today. Surely they met their goal before we left Myrtle Creek. Our stake was told to work the hours between 6:00 and 12:00. When we arrived, we were told that they wouldn't shut down until after 2:00.
We had also been told that we'd have access to doughnuts between 8:00 and 10:00. That's what we were told. Fortunately we weren't there for the doughnuts as the doughnuts were non-existent. However we were hungry and had been before our last shift. We stopped off at a McDonald's on our return.
Jenna had been invited to a party that took place at Stanton Park in Canyonville that took place at noon. Instead of going directly home to Myrtle Creek, we stopped off at the park so that Jenna could be with her friends. It had been such a long morning and I was so very tired - of course Jenna is the Energizer Bunny who continues to go and never wears out.
The expectations for the party were placed at a much higher value than what actually took place. I felt bad as I know a lot of planning went into it, and I think everybody made the best of the situation at hand, but I did feel bad for Callie's mom (Callie is the birthday girl) as she had spent several hours preparing for the event - a lot more hours preparing than what was actually spent.
Though we had arrived 90 minutes after the party supposedly started, the potato salad didn't actually arrive until after we did. By then, almost everybody had finished eating (though some of the adults did return to get some)
Though the kids seemed to enjoy the idea of having a colored-water fight with water guns and blasters - it was very short lived. The piñatas that were made came down after only two whacks. No one else received a turn at whacking.
Though the piñatas themselves seemed well made, not everybody got their fair share of candy as some of the greedier children loaded their bags leaving no thoughts for the others. Jenna managed to grab three pieces. The birthday girl ended up with an empty bag. So all the bags were dumped into the middle and divided up evenly.
I think the most fun that anybody had was in playing "Red Rover" which I think was just an impromptu game that was suggested while Josie and her husband set up for the water activity.
Roland and I, both tired, didn't want to stay for any of it really. By the time the cake was served, we were more than ready to leave. But Jenna wanted to stay as Callie hadn't even opened her presents. Casey and Carley's mom said she would bring Jenna home if we wanted to leave. I expressed my gratitude and told Jenna about our plans. Just as we got ready to leave, Jenna expressed her desires to go with us. And now we are home and I am ready to call it a night.