OGDEN — Cristen Smith had no idea her single pear tree could start a movement for mothers in Utah who depend on the government program WIC, which provides nutritious food for families. But what began as a simple post on Facebook has grown into a community service project.
After the government shutdown halted funding for WIC Tuesday, Smith, a single mother who once relied on the program, was concerned about those who continue to depend on it. Although she didn't feel like she had much to offer, she decided to post on Facebook the one thing she had more than enough of: pears.
"Courtesy of the government shutdown, I'm aware women can't fill their WIC," Smith posted online. "Though I can't help much, I do have a pear tree with plenty of fresh pears for anyone in need. I'm donating them to anyone who needs them."
It didn't take long for Smith to receive several responses to her Facebook post.
"The response I have gotten is so overwhelming. People have been reaching out from all over saying that they either needed help or wanted to do anything they could to help," Smith posted online. "It has seriously touched my heart to see so many people willing to help."
Now dubbed the "Pear Lady," Smith created a separate Facebook page titled "Good things come in pears" in order to organize the growing service project. In a feature done by KSL, Smith described just how much her simple idea has grown. KSL also reported that Associated Foods has joined the movement, offering to provide formula for mothers in need.
"To me, the fact that this has grown into such a movement is touching," Smith told the Deseret News. "The fact that so many people who have so little to give are willing to donate their time and efforts to such a worthy cause is humbling to say the least. I hope that these families getting help will be appreciative and as touched as we are about all of this."
The food drive will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Layton Duck Park. Those who would like to volunteer have been asked to meet at the park at 10 a.m.
Although Smith didn't plan on organizing something this large, she is grateful to be a part of something that will make a difference.
"I have learned that no matter how bad things get, good people will always show their true colors," Smith told the Deseret News. "I want this to spread across the nation, if not the world. People are always going to need help, why can't we work together and provide that?"
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