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Mormons' work in fields helps families
All through the San Joaquin Valley grapes are being pruned. Farm workers and farmers are out working each day to hurry the cutting of vines to produce the maximum grape harvest to produce the maximum profit, but a few miles north of Fresno is a grape vineyard that is a little different.
The 80-acre vineyard is manned by volunteers solely for the purpose of giving the grapes away later as raisins to less-fortunate members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in need of food. This winter, Mormons from Porterville joined in the pruning.
On Jan. 12, after most of the pruning was already completed, an array of members from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cut, clipped and tied vines for the upcoming season.
Working in the cold, side-by-side were eight students, a dentist, three attorneys, four Mormon missionaries, three businessmen, two educators, one corrections officer, one handyman, one retired person, a deputy ag commissioner, a certified public accountant, a salesman, a homemaker, two farmers and a bus driver.
The scenario was one that has occurred on other days, with close to 100 people — with the same contrast of individual careers — working together.
The church’s welfare program, throughout North America, creates and grows enough commodities to supply most of what a family needs.
“On every other Thursday, a truck arrives from the Bishop’s Storehouse in Fresno where all supplies are temporarily stored,” said church member Stan Stark. “It’s kind of like a Walmart distribution center, and people who are in need go over there to the Porterville Newcomb building at 10 a.m. and pick up their supplies.”