The founding meeting of the Relief Society was on March 17, 1842, and women in that organization have been filling needs through service ever since.
“The history of the sisters of this Church is a history of serving and it’s happened since the beginning,” said Sheri Dew in a recent Church News video. Dew served in the Relief Society General Presidency from 1997 to 2002.
The Relief Society has often literally saved the lives of others. For instance, Brigham Young called Emmeline B. Wells, who would later serve as a Relief Society General President, to ask the sisters to learn how to store wheat. Although there were many challenges in doing so as the women were unfamiliar with the process, that wheat later saved the lives of many when the United States government bought over 200,000 bushels of grain from the Relief Society during World War I.
More recently, the Relief Society helped during a war in Kosovo in the 1990s by providing quilts for those in need. In about 60 days, the organization produced 140,000 quilts—100,000 more than they were anticipating. And today, the Relief Society—which now consists of approximately 7.1 million members in more than 188 countries and territories—has stepped forward again by helping make millions of masks during the pandemic.
“The call is made from the Relief Society General Presidency, ‘Can we make some masks? Can we make millions of masks?’ And everybody wants to help,” said Dew. “I think it’s important to go back and realize why we want to help, though. These are women of covenant. They really do believe God is our Father, and that we ought to love Him with all of our hearts, and that one way we show that we love Him with all of our hearts is to help someone else. And you see that manifest in a time of need in the most stunning ways for the sisters of Relief Society.”
Watch the video at Church News.