With the recent tornadoes in the Midwest, in what has been a destructive tornado season so far, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) are giving needed assistance.
More than 300 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers from the Church’s Bloomington Indiana Stake (similar to a diocese) cleaned up fallen trees and debris from the 2 March tornado. Volunteers also traveled to New Albany, Pekin, Borden and Henryville, Indiana to render service to those areas that suffered severe destruction and loss.
Bloomington Indiana Stake president Clair Simmons said Latter-day Saints were overwhelmed by the tragedy that hit Henryville and other small communities in Indiana. “It will take years to recover from the devastation. Serving others, especially those who are not of our faith, truly blesses our lives.
“One lady,” said Simmons, “reported that her mother had lost hope, but the efforts of the Church volunteers had restored her faith in humanity. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve.” Volunteers provided 4,225 hours of service.
Mormon Helping Hands in Texas
In Texas, Mormon Helping Hands set out to help neighbors in Colonia Llano Grande. More than 600 volunteers cleared out trash, brush and debris from the streets and alleys of this neighborhood just outside Weslaco.
In a massive effort dedicated to serving others, volunteers were able to remove over 80 tons of trash and debris. Focus was given to trimming trees obstructing traffic and power lines; clearing overgrown drainage ditches, streets and alleys; cleaning lots and making much needed home repairs. In total, 16 large truckloads of rubbish were collected and removed from the colonia.
Located less than 10 miles from the Mexico border, the colonia was once a neighborhood riddled with heavy gang activity. Although violence has largely dissipated, years of neglect and limited resources left the area in desperate need of attention.
Resident Maria Martinez commented, “This part of the colonia was kind of forgotten. We don’t usually have much help.”
Martinez has lived in the colonia for nearly 12 years. Twelve family members reside with her in her single-wide mobile home that has been added to as her family grew. “I didn’t expect this,” she said. “I’m giving thanks to God. He is the one doing all of this.”
“The Church focuses so much on service. In all that we do we seek to follow and emulate the Savior, and His life was a life of service. He came here to do the Father’s will and to help other people. We strive to follow that example and reach out to help other people,” said President Chandler.