News Story

European Year of Volunteering Showcases Mormon Helping Hands

Project Helps Children with Cancer

On a well-traveled street in Berlin, Germany, recently, passers-by stopped at the Mormon Helping Hands display at the Sony Center and experienced a hands-on service project. The daylong event on 16 October 2011 allowed Mormon Helping Hands volunteers to help the people of Europe catch the spirit of volunteering by engaging them in helping children with cancer.

The project included sewing and assembling small “Broviac” catheter bags, which deliver life-saving medicine into the child’s body. The portable nature of the catheter enables a child suffering from cancer to move about freely. One-thousand bags from the project will be donated to children’s hospitals.

Juanita Muenzer, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who delivered some of these bags to children in an oncology ward, said, “The children were delighted to be able to choose their own bags made of colorful, happy, funny and cheerful material.” She added, “There were moments when I had to turn my head away because my tears started to flow.”

The volunteers at the Mormon Helping Hands booth were easily recognizable in their yellow vests with the Helping Hands logo. Besides the active, ongoing service happening at the booth, there were posters, brochures and a continuous slide show depicting the many projects thousands of Mormon Helping Hands volunteers have accomplished across Europe. Their invitation: “Come Join Us and Make a Difference!”

Karlheinz Scherer, national director of public affairs for the Church in Germany, said, “What we want to show in Berlin is that the life of a gravely ill child can be eased with a little time and effort. The motive of Mormon Helping Hands is simple: We do it because we want to follow the example of Jesus Christ. We do it because we want to help. We do it because we are convinced that we can be happy if we do not only think about ourselves.”

Nearly 9,000 Volunteers Give 34,000 Hours of Service

Mormon Helping Hands is a global initiative of the Church that provides community service and disaster relief to those in need. Last year, 34,000 hours of service were donated by nearly 9,000 volunteers throughout Europe. These projects included providing humanitarian assistance in the mud-flooded towns of Hungary and the flood disaster areas of the Czech Republic. Victims in these areas referred to the hundreds of our volunteers in their distinctive yellow Helping Hands vests as the “yellow army” and stated, “Mormon Helping Hands made a miracle happen!”

Other Mormon Helping Hands service projects included cleaning and beautifying community beaches, roads, farms, forests, parks, lakes, ponds and cemeteries. Volunteers have cleaned windows and floors and painted buildings. They’ve donated blood, assembled hygiene kits and food items for the homeless and needy, and provided luncheons, entertainment and help for senior citizens. They have created and built children’s playground equipment and helped with the renovation and restoration of ruins. In helping with urban farm maintenance, one manager of a charity farm that serves special needs adults, youth and children remarked, “Your volunteers accomplished two months worth of work in one day.”

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