While spending Thanksgiving nearly 3,000 miles from his home in Oahu, Hawaii, Elder Kivalu Ramanlal knew his family misses him for a special reason.
“I’m usually the one who cooks our Thanksgiving,” Elder Ramanlal said with a knowing smile.
But Elder Ramanlal, who in a few weeks will leave the Missionary Training Center to serve a Mandarin-speaking mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York City, said Thursday that he couldn’t see himself doing anything other than taking part in what has been called one of the largest humanitarian efforts in the church not related to a natural disaster.
“This is one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever had,” Elder Ramanlal said. “Nothing really gives you the feeling that service does.”
Elder Ramanlal and about 1,200 other missionaries, who will soon leave to 38 different countries, spent much of their Thanksgiving afternoon preparing and packaging apporximately 350,000 meal packs for Utah children in need.
The meals are instant, only requiring water to prepare for eating, are comprised of rice, lentil beans, dried vegetables and himalayan salt. All 60,000 pounds of the pre-made casseroles will be given to students throughout Utah at Title 1 elementary schools, which have a high percentage of students from low income families.