Last February, the Relief Society from the Park City Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began collecting items for its project called 500 Babies in Africa.

The goal was to collect enough cloth diapers, gowns, socks and hats for 500 newborns and their mothers in Zimbabwe.

Once word got out, the response was overwhelming, said Diane Livingston, Park City Stake Relief Society president.

"We have enough items for 1,100 babies," Livingston told The Park Record. "Kristen Walton, who is one of my counselors, said it best: 'It was really humbling.'

Livingston, Walton and another counselor, Debbie Flint, were taken aback at the community's generosity.

"When we originally decided on collecting items for 500 babies, we didn't know if we would get that much, but now we have more than double what we asked for," Livingston said.

The Relief Society received donations from the public, but also teamed with the Christian Center to collect the items.

In addition, other organizations and businesses stepped up to help.

St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Cross Pointe and Davidene's Quilt Shop in Silver Creek were some of the donors.

"Davidene's donated a lot of fabric and time," Livingston said. "We were able to not only get the materials to make some of the items, but they also let us use their store to sew these items."

Utah Food Services donated the soap for the project and Ecker Hill Middle School helped sew blankets.


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"We have received sewn items from all over the state," Livingston said. "There was a woman from Bountiful who sewed hundreds of gowns and booties."

Livingston's 10-year-old son, Sam, also got into the project.

His Cub Scout troop hosted a garage sale three weeks ago and donated a portion of the funds raised to 500 Babies in Africa.

"We sold a TV, furniture, toys and other things," he said.

The next step is to put all these items in packages that will be shipped to Zimbabwe in October by the international nonprofit organization, Eyes 4 Zimbabwe. So, the Park City Stake Relief Society will host a packing party on Tuesday, June 17, at the church on 2300 Monitor Dr.

The event will feature a dinner at 6 p.m. and a presentation by Eyes 4 Zimbabwe founders Reeve Nied, Laurette Maritz and Cecile Lundgreen, all of whom are pro golfers.

"We'll have the three women come and speak and show a little video about what they do," Livingston said. "It will be touching, because there is a need there that many people aren't aware of."

The packing will begin at 8 p.m.

"We would love for anyone who wants to help put the packages together," Livingston said. "They are welcome anytime between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m."

The packages will include a blanket, four diapers, a gown, two bars of soap, a pair of socks and a baby beanie.

"This is a project that will help newborns and their mothers in Zimbabwe," Livingston said. "The babies that are born over there don't have blankets or clothes and are sent home in newspapers. So we wanted do something to help them."

For more information about 500 Babies in Africa, contact Diane Livingston at 435-640-1855, Debbie Flint at 435-640-2924, Kristen Walton at 435-513-9087 or visit www.facebook.com/500babiesinafrica . For more information about Eyes 4 Zimbabwe, visit www.eyes4zimbabwe.org.