The Relief Society motto, “Charity Never Faileth” is intended to move from the lips, to the heart, and then to the hands--a hand of love and a hand of charity. Opportunities to lend a hand come and go daily. Yet it is consistent action over the course of time that translates into character, the character of Christ. For the past twenty-five years, the Relief Society sisters of the Calgary Alberta South Stake took their motto to heart and made sure it reflected their faith in Jesus Christ with unwavering service.
This service has not gone unnoticed. On May 3, 2015, the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Center Society awarded a crystal goblet to the Church in recognition of its lengthy service. The Drop-In Centre Executive Director, Debbie Newman stated, “On behalf of all of us at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society, I am honoured to award the Relief Society an award named “Respect” for the volunteer group who best exemplifies respect toward all. This group of volunteers has been involved with the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society for over twenty-five years, before we were able to pay our staff. On 9/11, their group arrived en masse to help with whatever they could as we sheltered people unexpectedly displaced. When the Drop-In’s newest building was built, these women made quilts for each and every bed. When the floods of 2013 engulfed the main floor of our shelter, again they stepped up, helping wherever needed. They have been our silent supporters and have never asked for anything in return. I am forever grateful for their immense care and kindness.” Ms. Newman quipped that “We couldn’t put the name ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ on the goblet because it was too long, so we merely engraved the ‘Relief Society’.'
Sister Nurae Peterson of the Calgary South Stake has championed the Relief Society’s support of the Drop-In Centre for more than two decades. This represents thousands of unnamed Church and Relief Society volunteers who have contributed in any way to the centre. In accepting the award, Sister Kerry Smith, President of the Calgary Alberta South Stake Relief Society stated, “It was an honour to be recognized by the centre and that the award is for everyone involved in service to the centre.” She quoted Elder Robert D. Hales who said, “How we live our religion is far more important than what we may say about our religion.' Contributions by the Relief Society to the Drop-In Centre over the years included handmade quilts, thousands of items of clothing and an estimated one million sandwiches.
The Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society is an incorporated, non-denominational, non-profit, charitable organization governed by a Board of Directors and administered and operated by a dedicated team of full time staff and volunteers. The Drop-In Centre has been a familiar face in the homeless sector in Calgary since 1961. It was originally operated through a joint initiative of the Roman Catholic Diocese and the Calgary Interfaith Community Action Committee.
Ms. Newman also offered first-hand information about the relationship of the Church and the Drop-In Centre. “The Drop-In Centre was originally a very small building. Its primary purpose was to help those persons who needed food, clothing and some place to sleep. The director of the Centre at the time, Dermot Baldwin, worried that many homeless men had no place to go except to the small building that was situated in Calgary's run down East Village. He wanted to expand it to a second site. With the aid of Federal funding however, funding was withdrawn as the project appeared too ambitious to be feasible. The current Centre was overcrowded far beyond capacity every night. The Board of Directors and the workers all hoped for some kind of help. That help came from Karl Bodon, a member of the Church.”
Charity is a condition of the heart, not an organization. Whenever a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acts according to the principles of the gospel as taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ, the world becomes a better place. When hearts filled with charity organize and join together with others of the same heart, great things are accomplished. And thus we see the truth that “Charity Never Faileth”.