News Release

Latter-day Saint Youth Assemble New Beds at Las Vegas Rescue Mission

“We’re just grateful that we have these organizations in the community that allow us to do Christ’s work,” Church leader says

Latter-day Saint teenagers came together on Saturday, May 11, 2024, to assemble 91 new beds for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission (LVRM) in downtown Las Vegas. They also took apart old beds to be repurposed for children at East Valley Family Services.

“For years I have been trying desperately through different organizations to get these beds purchased,” said Heather Williams, director of development at LVRM. “The fact that today you are here to build those beds and this is now taken care of is such an amazing blessing.”

The beds were purchased thanks to a donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

LVRM, which started in 1970 and takes up two city blocks in downtown Las Vegas, helps hundreds of men, women and their children daily, providing approximately 30,000 meals each month.

Debbie Karnafel, the event’s JustServe volunteer coordinator, said she was pleased with the number of youth who came to help their community neighbors in need.

“We were so worried about it because it’s May. We’ve got graduations and all this stuff that's happening. It’s crazy,” Karnafel said. “[We thought], ‘let’s just try,’ and look at what happened. They all pulled together despite having soccer games and whatever else is going on. They were able to take a chunk of four hours out of their busy schedule and come here and serve.”

“We were expecting maybe about 100 [youth],” Williams said. “And then when we started seeing the number rise up, we were like, ‘Oh, my goodness, how are we going to handle it all?’ But everyone has just jumped in and they are just knocking it out. I’ve not seen anything like this before.”

Volunteer Cameron Steed cherished the opportunity to give something back to his community.

Latter-day Saint youth assemble new beds for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday, May 11, 2024.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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“This is an opportunity for us to … provide a place of rest for people who might be suffering from drug addictions or who are going through rehab or just suffering from trauma. This just gives them an opportunity to have a place to call home for a couple nights of the year,” Steed said. “It’s been a great time. It’s been good to work together.”

Another volunteer, Alexis Holyoak, said the service opportunity helped her appreciate her everyday blessings.

“To do something that we might take for granted for someone who is very grateful to have a bed to sleep in at night is pretty great,” she said.

Caroline Stoddard, another volunteer, said the service was time well spent.

“It’s really satisfying with our end result, with all the work we did this morning and what it came to,” Stoddard said.

Williams said she is “beyond grateful” for what these youth accomplished in such a short time—and for how it will bless lives. No longer will those in need of LVRM’s important services be sleeping on sagging mattresses.

“It’s been so many years trying to get all of these beds on property and to make sure that we’re serving the community as best we can,” Williams said. “You can’t beat a good night’s sleep. We all know that. This has been a vital project we’ve needed for so long. Tonight our guests are going to come back and they’re going to get to sleep on a brand-new mattress. I just know that their mood is going to change when they come back on property.”

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Elder Thomas A. Thomas, an Area Seventy, told the youth that serving those in need in this way is exactly what Jesus Christ would do.

“One of my favorite scriptures is, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,’” Elder Thomas said, quoting Matthew 11:28. “And what I told the youth is, if there is any place in Las Vegas where we have people that are laboring and are heavy laden, it’s the people that are served at the Las Vegas Rescue mission. And when they can come here and facilitate the creation of all of these beds, they are providing rest for those individuals who are most in need — including families with children who come to this center.”

Projects such as these, Elder Thomas said, are timeless, memorable and unifying.

“The youth will remember exactly where they were on a beautiful summer day and what they did,” he said. “And years from now they’ll identify with the mission of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. We’re just grateful that we have these organizations in the community that allow us to do Christ’s work and to come here and serve these wonderful people who need this mission so much.”

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