[Readings] | Hungry Souls, by Maria Bistline | Harper's Magazine

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[Readings]

Hungry Souls

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From emails sent by Maria Bistline, a manager at the food storehouse for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to Preston Barlow, a church official. The emails were sent in early 2016. They were included in a motion filed in a Utah court in August in The United States v. Lyle Jeffs. Jeffs, an F.L.D.S. leader, is accused of diverting church members’ federal food-stamp money toward personal purchases, including a luxury vehicle. In June, Jeffs used olive oil to slip off a house-arrest bracelet; he is currently at large.

Preston,

Look at this inventory form. The items with * are needed. Can you call me if you get this so we know it is going through?

*butter cheese eggs yogurt avocados broccoli carrots cauliflower celery cucumbers lettuce peppers spinach tomatoes apples bananas oranges grapefruit noodles vanilla salt sweeteners seasonings spices starches beef chicken fish turkey lamb

Preston,

Fifty percent of the bottled tomato juice that came was unsealed and black. Most of it was dated 2010. We sent it to Mother Ladonna to boil down and reprocess.

Preston,

This inventory looks pretty bleak. We did not get much today. Many orders went out with no eggs and no fruit.

Number of orders to be filled: 116. Number of people to be served: 1,563. Produce in stock: 0.

Preston,

Some of the orders went out looking pretty sad. For a while we only had celery, peppers, and potatoes. At 3 p.m. we received one bin of oranges. At 5 p.m. the oranges were gone.

Preston,

Very few things came in today. We had a couple of people saying they were starving. We gave them all we could. Let me know if we need to be doing anything different.

At noon we were completely out of butter, cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, and most vegetables.

Preston,

This has been a long day. The orders went out with produce but were lacking in dairy and fruit. We are grateful for whatever the Lord provides.

Tomorrow we have enough produce to fill a quarter of the orders. We are out of potatoes. We can fill 5 percent of the orders with bread.

Preston,

It is hard to portray how today went. Several times, we were ready to stop because there was nothing to put on the orders. But we managed to plow through. We have had a long day but Heavenly Father has been with us. He is the giver and I recognize His hand in all things.


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