I was asked by a member of my mom's ward to write a brief accounting of how my mom showed charity at different times in her life. This is for their ward's celebration of the birthday of Relief Society. As many know the motto of the Relief Society is "Charity Never Failieth.
This is what I wrote:
June Newman: Charity Never Faileth
I can’t think of a time in my life when my mom didn’t show charity. I remember coming home from school and there would be a beautiful cake or a plate of brownies sitting on the counter. We kids would ask if we could have some and the answer would be, “That cake is for Sister so and so” or for the missionaries or insert any worthy cause. My mom made homemade bread several times a week and always donated a loaf for the sacrament each Sunday. I can’t tell you how many loaves were delivered to neighbors by us kids at my mom’s direction.
My father served as bishop from the time I was 7 until I was 14. I watched my mom be a wonderful bishop’s wife and show great love to all of the ward members. I remember firesides hosted at our home with my mom always ready and happy to have the members there. I never heard her grumble or complain. I can honestly say that I have never heard my mom complain or say a bad word about anyone my whole life. I looked to her example as how to be a bishop’s wife when my husband was called to be bishop.
At one point when I was about 10 or 11 I remember a woman and her family ended up at our house. I have no idea how she got there, she was just there. I’m sure she found us because my dad was bishop. This woman had several children and was fleeing from an abusive relationship. I just know she called herself Jean West because she headed west and went as far west as she could go. We were living in California at the time. My mom opened our home to the frightened woman and her traumatized children until, with the help of the ward; an apartment was found and furnished for her to move into. I was so touched by the example my mom set that I gave all but one of my dolls to the little girls of this family as they had run away with nearly only the clothes on their back and the few possessions Jean could put in their car.
After we moved to Utah our home was always a haven to those who needed shelter. We got my Indian Placement sister because the people who were supposed to host her could not for some reason. I think we got the call the night before Vivian came that another home was needed and would my parents open their home and heart to someone new. Vivian is still my sister today and calls my mom, “Mom.” Vivian says my mom saved her at a time when she needed saving the most. The time spent with our family was the only peace she had in her chaotic life. Vivian lived with us for 3 years and I am still glad to call her “sister”.
After we kids were grown and out of the house my mom and dad opened their home to anyone who LDS Social Services felt was in need. There were the unwed young women who found shelter in our home through LDS social services. These young women would live in our home until they gave their children to be adopted or decided to raise them on their own. I can’t remember how many young girls felt the love of my mother when they were in a frightening and unsure time of their lives.
There were several other people who found refuge in my parent’s home. People from all walks of life. My mom never said no and her doors and arms were always open.
Then there were the missions they served. Their first mission was teaching people in the South side of Chicago, their second mission was a physical facilities mission in Kirtland, Ohio and their third mission was a Humanitrian Aid mission in Kazakhstan. My mom loved all 3 missions but I think she enjoyed helping the people of Kazakhstan the best.
My mom has always been a wonderful example of charity to who family though her whole life and when I grow up I want to be just like her.
I am so grateful for all that I have learned from my mother. When we moved to Utah a member of our ward was the Commissioner of LDS Social Services. I think it was Brother Harold Brown who approached my folks about helping many of the people they harbored in their home. I know it was Brother Brown who asked my parents if Vivian could come live with us and I'm so glad he did.
I am grateful for my mom and for my father who both gave me a wonderful foundation.