The word “service” is more than just a byword for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, one might even say that “service” is a major part of their life. They learn from their youth to be a loving and caring people, and to “lift up the hands which hang down, and [stable] the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:12), whenever and wherever a need arises.
Mormon Helping Hands
There was a time when the efforts of local government agencies and nonprofit organizations to rally large groups of volunteers to manage a large scale project may have seemed futile, but with the emergence of the Helping Hands program that has dramatically changed. This spring, for example, large groups consisting of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have been rendering assistance in community projects from Pittsburgh to Brentwood.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, Helping Hands helped to prepare for an upcoming county fair at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds in Antioch by volunteering their time to prepare the animal pens, paint, landscape the grounds, and make needed repairs. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, families from Helping Hands were at work cleaning up Buchanan Park, and in Brentwood, another group spent time beautifying a major corridor with landscaping upgrades.
Sarah Garber, a Helping Hands member from Brentwood, commented, “We provide the manpower for projects that require large amounts of help. We make it a family event with everyone from the elderly to children helping out.” And Karen Berg, another Helping Hands member, stated that “”It teaches them [the younger generation] that service brings people joy.”
The Just Serve Program
To help identify groups or projects in need of help, Helping Hands uses a website called JustServe, a free program that matches faith, nonprofit, community and government organizations who need volunteers, with volunteers who are willing to help. According to the Wednesday, 20 May 2015, online edition of The Observer:
Following the Biblical admonition to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” JustServe provides opportunities to relieve suffering, care for the poor and needy, and enhance the quality of life in communities. It also offers people of differing faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds the chance to increase mutual understanding and build new friendships.
James C. Banks, President of the Houston Summerwood Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ reiterated the fact the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ are built on the principle of service. He stated, “That service needs to reach into our communities, just as the Savior’s service ranged throughout all Israel. In addition to helping with physical needs, service softens hearts, increases understanding, and opens doors.”