News Release

Mormons in the Northwest United States and Canada Pitch In to Help Communities

Pear harvesting, museum repair, food collecting and wall building were just a few of the service projects completed by thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the Northwest Area Day of Service on 17 September 2011. The activities are part of a worldwide commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Church welfare program.

Church members in the Elma Washington Stake worked on three different historical renovation projects. At the 1890 McReavy House in Union City, Washington, volunteers helped sand windows and stairs. 

In Bothell, Washington, a group of Mormon youth spent the day bagging oats and green beans at Northwest Harvest, a nonprofit group that provides nutritious food to the needy.

“I decided I want to serve,” 16-year-old Baylee Bissenden said. “It went really fast. Everyone kept saying how they could have gone on longer.”

Filling the shelves of local food banks was the focus in Lacey, Washington. Local Latter-day Saints canvassed neighborhoods for donations and also partnered with 25 community organizations and businesses to gather food. The food – estimated to be over ten tons – was then donated to local food banks.

Nine-year-old Becky Allen of Bellevue, Washington, went around her neighborhood with her mom, inviting local residents to donate to the food drive. Becky handled all the door approaches by herself and said, “It was fun to talk to our neighbors and know that we were helping people.” 

Church members in British Columbia participated in what they called a “Canadian Thanksgiving Food Drive.” More than 4,000 Latter-day Saints joined with friends from the community to collect approximately 247,000 pounds of food for the needy.     

In Mukilteo, Washington, volunteers worked in the Japanese Gulch area of the city to widen a trail, cut brush, remove blackberry bushes and pull weeds.

“We wanted to give back to the city of Mukilteo because they were helpful in helping us rebuild after the fire,” said Chad Manivanh, referring to an arson fire that destroyed his meetinghouse in October 2010.

In Oregon, Church members decided that a single day of service just wasn’t enough.  Volunteers there donated 20,000 hours of labor during three weeks to harvest pears for the hungry. Latter-day Saints from Medford, Roseburg and even Redding, California, came by the busloads to help. More than two million pounds of pears will go directly to people who are struggling to provide food for themselves or their families. 

The projects in Gresham, Oregon, included widening the Beaver Creek Canyon trail, painting and re-roofing a gazebo, removing invasive plant species and building a rock retaining wall.

“From cleaning parks, planting trees and repairing homes to feeding the homeless and helping the Red Cross, it is a wonderful thing to be involved in serving our communities and each other. What makes it more exceptional is that in many cases we are partnered with other religious or community organizations,” said Area Seventy Elder R. Bruce Merrell.

Church members in Eagle River, Alaska, helped paint, clean and fix up the home of Milly Rupard, a 75-year-old widow who is incapacitated and spends most of her day alone. In addition to the physical labor, members took turns providing some welcome conversation for Rupard.

“It has been absolutely gratifying to see our members reach out in such abundance and diversity through service in their communities. Through their service, we have developed new friendships and partnerships, but most important, each member has directly demonstrated love for their neighbors through these community service projects. Even with all the participation this year, it will be exciting to watch the Day of Service grow and expand in years to come,” said Area Seventy Elder Phil K. Bussey.


Related Media Coverage

Statesman Journal: Monmouth Stake's 'Day of Service' draws 809 helping hands

Lake Stevens Journal: Making a mark on the Lake Stevens community

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