News Release

Latter-day Saint Youth Serve Communities in the Southeast US

Youth gather for Global Youth Service Day to share hope and healing throughout their communities

Young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee came together between April 20 and 27, 2024, to participate in Global Youth Service Day. This annual event encourages youth to engage in community service and make a positive impact. See a similar article about youth service April 20, 2024, in Orange County, California.

Youth committees planned activities in their communities to clean parks, horse farms, rivers, cemeteries and beaches. Others fed the hungry, clothed the naked and comforted the elderly. Thousands of hours of volunteer work from 133 stakes across the region show the impact young people can have when they love their neighbor. A few examples of this service are below.

Feeding the Hungry in Montgomery, Alabama

In Montgomery, Alabama, over 80 youth and adults from the Montgomery Alabama Stake and the East Montgomery Islamic Society (EMIS) joined forces at the Heart of Alabama Food Bank. They packed 1,185 boxes of food for Alabama residents in need. While some youth worked diligently to assemble the food boxes, others painted inside the facility.

“I came because I wanted to help people out,” said Gavin Campbell, a youth from Montgomery. “I feel satisfied. I feel like I did something.”

Montgomery Alabama Stake Young Women’s president Liz Blanton and EMIS Youth and Interfaith Services Director Aya Zaied are already discussing plans for future joint service projects and cultural events.

Tying Fleece Blankets for Children in Need in Savannah, Georgia

Despite their commitment to worship in their local temple, the Savannah Georgia Stake Youth actively participated in the Global Youth Service Day. During the three-hour drive to the temple, they used their time meaningfully by tying fleece blankets. These blankets will be donated to organizations serving children in need.

“I loved having an opportunity to provide comfort for struggling kids,” said youth Violet Staska. “It was great to have something to show for a time that otherwise would have felt like a waste.”

Cleaning Up from Capital to Coast in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the Church’s Raleigh Coordinating Council brought together 317 youth from five different stakes. Their collective effort was aimed at cleaning up North Carolina from capital to coast. JustServe specialist Diane Ferrari played a crucial role in connecting youth leaders with local organizations. Their efforts supported eight agencies and organizations across the region.

Rebecca Hayes, manager of Helping Horse equine therapy farm, said she was surprised at how much was accomplished in so little time.

“We had a very robust list of projects to work on,” she said. “Your youth were such a pleasure to have out and were the hardest workers, with smiles the entire time. We all were amazed at the enthusiasm that they all showed with whatever tasks they tackled.”

Serving Second Harvest Food Bank in Winston Salem, North Carolina

Youth from the Dobson and Stuart areas in the Winston Salem North Carolina Stake lent a helping hand to the Second Harvest Food Bank. They dispersed bags of food during a drive-thru event in Mount Airy. Their service directly impacted individuals and families facing food insecurity.

“I really liked it. It was a lot of fun and it felt good,” said youth Calvin Wait. “We were able to pack a ton of bananas, cucumbers and carrots.”

Helping a Homeless Shelter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

On Saturday, April 20, the youth of the Myrtle Beach South Carolina Stake gathered to assemble hygiene kits for a local Men’s Homeless Shelter. These kits included essential items such as toiletries and personal care products. Additionally, each kit contained uplifting and positive affirmations, spreading hope and encouragement to those in need.

Youth Sadie Case said service is an indispensable part of a life of faith.

“[Service] brings you closer to Heavenly Father and Christ, and loving your neighbor helps you just to be more appreciative of everything you have, and I really love that,” Case said.

Global Youth Service Day is a reminder that young people have the power to make a difference. Through acts of kindness, compassion and service, they contribute to building stronger communities and fostering a sense of unity.

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