How to Find what You are Looking For. . .

Because the purpose of this blog is to pool information on three basic areas, the link lists on the side will direct you to posts and outside resources related to them. Click here for the LDS HUMANITARIAN SERVICES HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thirty ways to be Prepared

This is something that my Aunt sent to me, which I think has at a few things that could help everyone be better prepared for emergencies - so I' m passing it on.

Thirty Things to Prepare That Are Free, or Almost Free
By Carolyn Nicolaysen

The worldwide financial crisis is a great trial for this generation, and we don't see the end of it yet. Nevertheless, there are things we can do right now that are free, or nearly free, that will bring us closer to being self-reliant and prepared to meet our family's needs. Here are 30 Things to Prepare That Are Free or AlmostFree:
1. Protect your photos, journals and scrapbooks by moving them to a safe place in your home, making them easier to grab in case you have to evacuate for a fire, flood, or other event. (Abby would add, make those copies 'digital copies' and have a few back ups. Easer to grab and carry.)
2. Contact a friend or family member living at least 50 miles away and ask them if they would be willing to be your family's “Out of Area Contact”. They are agreeing to let you come to their home if you need to evacuate, make phone calls on your behalf to your extended family, and store copies of important papers and photos for you.
3. Record the serial numbers of major appliances and electronics. These should be stored in a safe deposit box, and a copy kept in your 72 hour kit and with your out of area contact. Everyone is vulnerable to a burglary or house fire, and these will be invaluable when trying to file insurance claims or to claim your possessions as the police recover them. We recently had a
family member discover an item on eBay that had been stolen from their vehicle.
4. Collect change from the sofa cushions, everyone's pockets, car, and the bottom of purses and place those coins in your 72 hour kit.
5. Teach your family about pandemics and discuss a plan for caring for immediate and extended family when a pandemic arrives. If you have not already done so, begin following the Friday series “Pandemic Prep” at _http://blog.TotallyReady.com_ ( and encourage them to do
the same. By following along, it will help calm their fears and empower them with simple, yet vital steps to readiness.
6. With your extended family, prepare a list of those who may need help to prepare for a pandemic or who may need a place to be cared for when a pandemic arrives. Create a plan for their care if they need a place to go. If they need help preparing and will be fine in their own home, help them with information and financial aid to accomplish their goals. You may consider giving
these people food or other pandemic preparedness items to assist their preparation.
7. Call your child's school and ask for a copy of the school emergency plan. If they don't have one ask some specific questions. For some help in composing a list of questions, copy the Meridian article _Is Your School Prepared for Emergencies?
( If your school has no plan to notify parents in case of an emergency or to provide for a student's needs during a lock down, or a plan to continue education during a pandemic - now is the time to get involved in the parent club or to get a group of friends together to go and ask some questions of your
school administration and school board. This is very important. Every day in the United States there are schools locked down. I experienced a lock down several years ago at our high school. I was in the counseling office when the signal came and the doors were locked. I immediately thought of my son and realized he was in band. Thank goodness. There were restrooms in the band room. Several months ago a teacher was fired because he allowed his students to use the waste paper basket as a potty during a lock down. He was told he should
have called the office and someone would have come to escort the child to the restroom. What kind of lock down is that? In our case and in the majority of lock down cases, there is someone around with a weapon. Who would want their child escorted anywhere when someone with a gun was wandering around? If
there is an earthquake or fire or tornado, what is the plan? If students and teachers are quarantined during a pandemic how will education continue? Missing three months of school is not an option. Be sure to set aside some time to discuss this plan with your children once you obtain it.
8. Find out which radio and TV stations are part of the emergency broadcast system for your local area. Be sure to find out which stations will handle emergency broadcasts for school emergencies. Place this list in your binder where you can find it quickly when the need arises.
9. Create phone trees for friends, neighbors and family. Assign everyone two or three people to call in case of an emergency. You will probably want a separate tree for family unless you all live in the same area. During the San Diego fires a few years ago, an entire block of families survived even though their homes did not, because they had a phone tree and called each other to warn of the danger and advise their neighbors to get out. Be sure your Out of Area Contact has phone numbers for every member of your family and extended family.
10. Create a Help List of friends and family who may be able to help with some of your preparedness needs. This is a great dinner activity. Children have great ideas and they also know what their friends' families may have. Brainstorm about those who garden, those who can teach you to sew, can, or repair a lawnmower. Is there a contractor who knows where to find scraps of lumber to build a food storage shelf or to use as firewood? Empty nesters may have canning jars they no longer use. Think creatively! When you have completed that list of resources, begin a list of things you can offer in trade to
someone else. Take inventory pictures for an elderly couple, teach someone to can or to solve a computer problem.
11. Contact at least 2 of the people on your Help List. Let them know of your goal to prepare and become self-reliant and ask them if they would be willing to share with your family. Offer to trade…if you have neighbors who have fruit trees and you know they don't have the time or skills to can their
fruit, ask them for fruit and offer to can a case for them. Elderly neighbors may love to have you pick the fruit they can no longer pick and may be more than willing to share the harvest.
12. Compile a list of handicapped or elderly neighbors who may need help evacuating during an emergency. Create a list of phone numbers and contact information for their family members. If you are being told to evacuate, their family may not be able to get in to help them.
13. Gather your first aid supplies from around the house and in your vehicles. Inventory what you already have on hand and make a list of items you need to purchase to complete those kits. Use items from the house to complete your car kit and place the kit back in the car.
14. Choose a secret message place. In the event you must evacuate before the family can gather, it is important to have a prearranged place where you will leave a note with the information as to when you left and where you have gone. Naturally this is an invitation to looters, so make this a secure
place and not under a mat or in a door frame. Let your Out of Area Contact as well as your immediate family know where this secret message place can be found.
15. Compile a list of family heirlooms to grab if there is time when evacuating. Post this list in a cupboard or closet for quick access during an emergency.
16. Begin gathering as many of those items as possible into the same location, making them easy to grab during an emergency.
17. Check your home owners insurance and make sure you are adequately covered. Be sure to add any large purchases such as a boat or heirlooms if they are not already listed. Take photos of these items as well, and have receipts, if possible with your insurance papers.)
18. Print several copies of the Ground to Air Rescue Signals form. ( Place these in your car kits and 72 hour kits. They can literally save your life if you are stranded in the wilderness.
19. Make an ice pack or two. Get a large, freezer-size, resealable, plastic bag. Pour in 3 cups of water and 1-cup of rubbing alcohol. Lay flat in the freezer for at least 2 hours before using. They will not freeze solid but can be easily molded to the area which needs the relief of an ice pack. They are much less expensive than commercial ice packs and work great. During a pandemic they would be invaluable to help reduce a fever. After a natural disaster they will help ease aches and pains after a long day of clean up. They have a thousand uses.
20. Make a list of items you need for your emergency supplies but have not been able to afford to purchase. This will be the list you give to family when they ask what you want for your birthday or Christmas.
21. Create a list of preparedness items you can give as gifts to family and even your children. During one of our family reunions our daughter and her family slept in the backyard. They had to borrow a few items and now understand what they still need to add to their supplies. They borrowed some sleeping bags from friends and the little girls now would love to get princess
sleeping bags as a gift. This list may include: sleeping bags, white sheets and towels, Dutch oven, fire extinguisher, family uniform, food storage, fire ladder, 72 hour kits, water storage, and even a good set of maps.
22. If you have a pet, find a pet sitter. Make arrangements with a friend or family member to care for your pets should you need to evacuate. For a flood, or home fire this person may live close by. When preparing for a hurricane, tornado or other catastrophic disaster, the sitter should be outside your immediate area, at least 10 miles away (if the Out of Area Contact is unable to take in your pets due to allergies, rental contracts, etc.).
23. Learn to use the manual release on the garage door. In case of a power outage you want to be able to get the car out of the garage if you need to evacuate.
24. Get on line and print off a copy of your credit reports. Be sure to check all three credit reporting agencies - TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. If you find anything that is incorrect, change it now. A good credit rating can save you thousands of dollars when you want to purchase or refinance a home or car. Don't be caught off guard. Fix any mistakes now!
25. Gather, count and clean all sleeping bags. If you don't have one per family member, this might make a good gift.
26. Prune those trees and bushes. Begin getting your yard ready for the harvest months ahead. Fruit trees that have not been properly pruned will not produce as well as those which have.
27. Copy your tax returns for at least the last 2 years and add them to your adult 72 hour kits and store a copy at your Out of Area Contact. If you don't want to share this info with your contact, place them in a sealed envelope before mailing these off.
28. Hold a family fire drill. Discuss: stop, drop and crawl. Remind family members to feel a door before opening it and if it is hot do not open the door. Find another way out of the room. Be sure you discuss two ways out of every room. Determine a meeting place outside of your home and then hold a surprise drill.
29. Inventory your food storage. This should be done every six months. Create a spreadsheet or other method to keep up to date.
30. Check your stored water. Water is such an important element in your preparedness plan. Don't be lulled into the belief that a water emergency can't happen to you. If you live in Southern California, for example, you are in danger of losing your water if there is an earthquake. Most of your water supply crosses one of the many fault lines. However, you may also lose your water if there is an earthquake in the Bay Area. Experts believe the levees in the San Joaquin Delta may not hold up during a large earthquake. If this is the case, salt water from the San Francisco Bay will flood the delta and pollute the fresh water. Much of that water supplies Southern California with
drinking water. No matter where you live, everyone needs to be concerned about drinking water. Every small step makes a big difference. And nothing provides peace of mind like being prepared. Have fun with it, and go do something today!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Christmas gift giving

As the Christmas Season Approaches you may be finding yourself trying to find ways to help your family focus on the true meaning of Christmas. During the month of December we turn our thoughts to the Savior. We reflect on his glorious birth and what his life meant to each us personally. This is a time to commit to living a more Christlike life. This is the time to show our love and appreciation to our loved ones, our neighbors, or to the kind people we come in contact with on a daily basis who make our lives easier. It is a time to say thank you to people like our postal delivery person, the young person who delivers our newspaper and carefully places it on the front porch so that it doesn't get rained on, or our children's teachers or bus drivers. It's a wonderful time of year when we gather in the kitchen to make holiday treats to take to these special friends and neighbors. These traditions that we share with our families help to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. The scriptures teach us that when we serve our fellow man we serve our God.
"I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your god. " Mosiah 2:17

What better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior then to serve him.

As you may know my husband and I are serving a Humanitarian Mission in Ukraine. We have received letters from friends and family who would like to provide service to the children in Ukraine. We are so grateful for your sweet offers of service. As Humanitarian Volunteers we have been instructed not to accept personal donations instead to direct people to the church's Humanitarian Fund to make donations. I would like to encourage you to do that. Another way you can help is to organize friends, and family or fellow church members to do service projects that can be donated to the Humanitarian Department. You can make a personal donation on your tithing slip or by going to the website here and your donation will be used as part of the Humanitarian efforts worldwide. I have included a list of organizations whose focus is to help Ukrainian Children. There are some wonderful ideas of ways that you can personally support an organization here in Ukraine or you could get a group of friends or fellow church members to work on a service project together. Some of these organizations were started by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints however,

*the church does not endorse these organizations. It is simply a list that I have personally compiled.

The Blueberry Children’s Foundation
Blueberry foundation has orphanage projects in Ukraine and the Philippines. They are currently working on the 3rd annual pajama drive. Their goal is to deliver 3,000 pairs of pajamas to children in Ukrainian Orphanages this year.

Orphans Bright Star
(They have a great list of ideas for Christmas donations)

"Providing fundamental assistance to the children in our sponsored orphanages in Ukraine."
We are moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and friends of Ukrainian orphans who have seen firsthand the many needs of these very special children. We have witnessed in our own homes and communities the unbelievable difference that sustenance, shelter, services, skills and spirit can make in transforming the lives of these forgotten ones, and intend on doing everything within our power to provide the same life-altering changes for all of the children left behind.We earn no salaries, have no offices, and yet we are as competent and effective as any brick and mortar organization in operation, providing donors with project statuses and pictures of the changes as they are in progress.

Project Reach Out

Nate Shipp, a Sugar House resident, works as a real estate developer in Salt Lake City. However, his first major construction project involved arranging for extensive repair work at an orphanage several time zones away. That was eight years ago shortly after he co-founded Project Reach Out, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping improve the lives and living conditions of hundreds of orphans in the Ukraine. Nate Shipp and his former missionary companion, Benj Becker started making annual trips back to Ukraine to visit Orphanages and help improve the lives of the children who live there.


Ascent Russian Orphan Aid Foundation is a non-profit charity that spends 100% of donations to provide basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter to orphans and homeless children living in the former Soviet Bloc countries. We do not receive any compensation for our work and pay for all operating expenses out of our own pocket. Every penny of your contribution goes directly to an orphanage to help complete the project you support. All orphanages and shelters that receive our help are registered non-profit organizations and have at least a 5-year record of accomplishment.

Save a Child Foundation

Save a Child Foundation has been established to offer humanitarian aid to children in foreign countries. One focus of our program involves finding families for older children. Typically, when families want to adopt, they are interested in children 5 years old or younger. Our goal is to be advocates to children ages 6 – 15, and to provide opportunities for families in America to interact with these children with the possibility of future adoption.

Life 2 Orphans

Life2Orphans wants to make a Christmas miracle come true for the children in our sponsored orphanages. The goal is to provide Christmas presents for over 6000 Ukrainian orphans this year. These are children who will otherwise receive nothing. Many of the older orphans have never received a gift in their lives! Consider the impact that Christmas can have... A small gift lets an orphan know that they are special and that someone cares about them. One child at a sponsored orphanage announced that the reason he doesn't run away anymore and live on the streets is because he gets food AND - for the first time ever - received a CHRISTMAS GIFT!
Send a gift off our 2008
Christmas Wishlist on Almost all of the gifts shown are eligible for free shipping to the Mission with a $25 order. FREE SHIPPING!! L2O will send donated gifts to our orphanages.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Humanitarian Work (containers), School for the Blind & Orphanages

Hope you enjoy this!
It was very touching to me. Abby

From Sister Kinghorn, a Humanitarian Service Missionary in the Ukraine:
Original post links: Humanitarian Work,
Orphanage One
Orphanage Two[IMG_0058.JPG]
Dear Friends,
People always ask "How can I help you? What can we send? My answer to you who are members of the church is attend your Stake Humanitarian Workdays. The above picture is an Orphanage Module that is shipped over in the LDS containers I have previously mentioned. This is where the quilts, wall hangings, newborn kits, baby blankets, handmade dolls and toys go that are made in those meetings. The Hygiene Kits and School Kits are also sent in the containers. One of the first ladies I met here who represented a charity that is from a very poor community pulled out a "School Bag" that she distributed the last time they received help from us. I can't tell you how exciting it was to see those bags go from our Relief Society to Welfare Square and end up here in Ukraine. I see your faces sitting over your sewing machines at home making these beautiful quilts and school kits that are so cherished by these children. One Sister missionary told me the first time she took Hygiene Kits to an orphanage one little girl just clung to it. She didn't even want to open it. She just held it close to her chest. The first time I went to an orphanage I spoke with a little girl who was clinging to a very old raggedy barbie doll with no clothes and a little broken comb and empty perfume bottle. Your handmade gifts are so very special and greatly appreciated. My dear friends, the blankets or school bags, or hygiene kits that you make may not come to Ukraine but I promise you the Humanitarian dept will send it to a country where some little girl or boy will cherish it and feel the Saviors love through your act of service. I want you to know that we are distributing these items all over Ukraine and I am so proud to be able to say "they come from the LDS families all over the world". We also tell them that the money we use to purchase other items they request is money that comes from LDS families all over the world. This money comes directly from your donations. Some of you may not be able to attend meetings or sew at home but you can help another way; you can donate to the Humanitarian Fund on your tithing slip. I am so grateful to be able to be here in Ukraine bringing the love of the Savior to these people. I love this work.

School for the Blind
Today we went to a school for the blind. It was registered in 2005. They have 2 very small classrooms for blind students. Each classroom is used by 4 students at a time. The students rotate throughout the day. They have a total of 24 students. However, they also work with older clients as well. Some of the students receive instruction in the home. I remember reading about this organization in a journal another Humanitarian Couple kept. I was so impressed with the Principal and how much he has accomplished in just a few years. We met one of their students who is entering the University soon. We also met about 4 or 5 women who we were told were all retired teachers who volunteer their services. The Principal really wants to teach people how to function as productive members of the society. He wants them to become educated to do more than just “menial work” He said he would like to see them be able to enter professional careers and be treated like "normal" people. He asked the Church for a computer to assist with teaching their students. He would also like to send some of the children to a Summer Camp so he is trying to find Sponsors to send his students to camp. It seems to be very common for children in Ukraine to go to camp during the summer. Many of the organizations we visit are looking for sponsors to help send children to camp. The unique thing about this request is most of these children would not have this opportunity because of their visual impairments. His goal is to give them the same opportunities as "normal" children. We then visited a shelter for young adults 18-23 who were raised in orphanages and now have nowhere to go to live or learn job skills. They are housing these young adults as well as trying to provide support in finding jobs. They only stay at this shelter until they find a job. Their goal is to try to find jobs that provide housing. One of the women said these are usually unskilled factory jobs, they use to have dormitories for Mine workers but she said it is so dangerous nobody wants to work there. We found this place on our own and the lady was so surprised we were offering help without anyone asking. It is kind of a strange concept isn't it. I want all of you at home to know that this is one of those organizations who would benefit from the HYGIENE KITS, BLANKETS AND BEDDING AS WELL AS CLOTHING DONATIONS THAT COME FROM THE CHURCH. All these young people were abandoned at birth and lived in orphanages their whole lives. Can you imagine how special it would be to have a homemade quilt? Keep up the work sisters I am so proud to represent our Relief Society. Today, the Principal told us there would be a "special reward in Heaven" for people like us for doing this work and I want you to know that I am just the messenger your love comes through to them in these blankets and hygiene kits.
Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you. It was a good day.
 One more day of being very thankful for these wonderful people who dedicate their lives to making other peoples lives better.

These kids were so cute. We were having a tour of the facility and came upon all these girls. They were so happy to see us. They kept saying "hello" in English. Then they would say, " my name is _____". Then they'd laugh. They love speaking English and having us understand them. We were swarmed in a matter of seconds. This orphanage is for children 6-16 years old. They have 157 children housed on 4 floors. They said 67 children are under State Protection. I think that means they were permanently removed from their parents. The Director said that the children here do not get adopted because they are older and people just want younger children. That was so sad. They also go to school at the orphanage. The second Orphanage houses about 82 children who are 3-18 years of age. They said they have about 20 children a year get adopted. They go to school in the community. The director said some of the children have been adopted by Mormon families from America. We were very impressed with both orphanages. The first one the children were housed in dormitory style rooms with about 6-8 beds in each room. They have been doing a lot of remodeling in the last 2 years and had a very impressive facility. The children's rooms were so clean it was hard to believe children actually slept there. They had separate floors for the girls and boys and each floor had a very nice lounge with a big screen TV. They even had a gym with a basketball hoop. They had a recreation room with a ping pong table and very old weights. I think their request for Humanitarian Aid may be for some weights for the rec room or exercise equipment. We visited the classrooms while the students were in class and it was so cute. They would all stand up when we walked in. One class had 6 year olds who said they don't know English they are studying French so they all wanted to show us what they could say in French. Elder Kinghorn said he could take any one of them home they were so adorable. They all had little black and white clothing on skirts, vest, sweaters. The teacher was very proud to tell us, "this is not just for the holiday, they look this nice everyday". It was a much nicer facility than I could have imagined, however, the sad fact is this is their "home." This was very apparent to me when we entered the hallway where the 3-5 year olds were in their beds napping, with their little shirts and pants laying neatly on the chairs next to their beds. As we walked by and saw a few of them stirring I thought of how my grandsons like to crawl into our laps when they wake up and just "snuggle" for a little while. Where do these little children wander off to when they wake from their naps and whose arms hold them? Who tucks them in at night and who teaches them to pray to Heavenly Father. Yes, these were nice facilities but there is no substitute for a HOME. These children are being raised without parents. I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up not having a family. The other thing that is hard to comprehend is these children go to camps in America where people come to see them to decide if they might adopt them. I can't imagine what the rejection feels like when they are not selected and they must return to the orphanage. They already have to live knowing their birth parents didn't want them and then they have to continually be disappointed when they meet potential adoptive parents who do not want them either.

We brought 6 young missionaries with us to visit the second Orphanage and when we went to meet with the Director I asked if the Missionaries could go visit with the children. The Director said yes, but you should have seen the missionaries faces when they realized they were going to be on their own. They said, "what should we do?" It was so cute, Elder Kinghorn said, "you don't have to worry it will come to you. They'll love you. Just go and you'll know what to do." I was so relieved when we returned about 45 minutes later and found them sitting on the floor in two circles of missionaries and young boys and girls playing what looked like "duck duck goose." They were all laughing and having a great time. I told the Elders I was so relieved to see them having fun. I felt like a mom who had left her kids at DayCare crying at the door and I didn't know when I returned if I would find them still sitting by the door crying. The Elders said, " It was really bad at first. We all just stared at each other for about 2 minutes. They were watching TV and when one of them turned it off some of them got mad, one girl said, lets listen to the missionaries. We didn't know what to do or say so we decided to play the game. They said, "they caught on faster than the students in our older English Classes. It was really a blast."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What we learned while pulling together items for Newborn Kits.

We found that Toys R Us was a great place to find the diapers. They need to be the unfolded kind. Walmart carries these, but I think that people often go there first, and the supply of diapers wasn't really consistent. We were consistently able to find the unfolded variety at Toys R Us.

Dollar stores were a good place to find diaper pins. The ones we found were Gerber brand, which was very good quality.

Walmart had the 12 packs of Ivory soap under  4 dollars. That makes the two bars of soap for each kit about 66 cents. The Dollar store had 3 packs of Ivory - which works out to about the same price - except that the bars were larger in the Walmart packs, and so in reality they are the better buy.

Blankets from stores all seemed to be the wrong size - usually not large enough. The sweet double 28x40 blankets that we love here in the states are what is most available in stores. We found it easiest and fastest to serge fleece blankets. If you piece two blankets, you can get 5 blankets from 3 yards of fleece. 

We found that many people had more money than time available to look for items. Many people brought money when that was offered as an option. In one instance, a sister found many packages of the diapers which she purchased and offered others an opportunity to help pay for them. It was by far the most successful way of finding donations for the project.

One sister, upon the purchase of a new pair of shoes, decided that "if she could spend that much for shoes - she could do a lot more for the newborn kits" - She purchased everything necessary for 10 kits - including making 10 blankets. 

Anyone else got any tidbits?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A note from "John & Stephanie's blog" left at The Peaceable Walk:

Thank you!! I think that the humanitarian service project blog is a wonderful idea.

I would be interested in what we could do to help with what recently occurred in Myanmar. lists what the survivors need the most at this moment.

Also the best thing suggested on the website is to call or e-mail the Latter-Day Saint Humanitarian Center, to see if there are changes in what is needed the most at the moment.

Guidelines can be found on or provident living:,16845,1335-1-9,00.html

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Come and Share

We have recently completed a "Newborn Kit" project in my church group - and we learned a great deal. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had, bar none. I want to share everything that we learned, and make it easier for those of you starting up projects in your own area.
I know that needs in our world are great. These service projects are simple, meant to meet the most basic needs of our sisters and their families around the world. The LDS church does a great deal to help where help is needed. It fills my heart with joy to think of the babies that will be going home clothed, with diapers and wrapped in a blanket rather than wrapped someone's shirt or a piece of newspaper because of the small sacrifices we made here.
I will put permanent links on the sidebar to documents describing the projects, and in the coming months, I will be working out ways to organize this site so that it is easy to find the information you need. I have some ideas and I hope it works - until then, let me know if you'd like to help, or have information to contribute. My email is on the side.