Humanitarian Service in the Greater Hartford Region
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sponsors humanitarian relief and development projects around the world that benefit those of all faiths. These projects include emergency relief assistance in times of disaster and programs that strengthen the self-reliance of individuals, families and communities.
Hundreds of full-time volunteers with skills and experience in education, agriculture, social work, business and medicine serve throughout the world as part of these humanitarian projects. These relief efforts include responses to the recent tsunamis, the earthquake in Haiti, the hurricanes in Louisiana and Texas and the famines in Ethiopia.
While projects are carried out all over the world, local Church units are also engaged in humanitarian efforts for the benefit of our communities. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, local church members have and continue to participate in numerous humanitarian projects.
Hurricane Irene Clean Up
Within days after Hurricane Irene made its destructive exit from the east coast, Latter-day Saints cleaned homes and comforted people. In the initial weeks after Hurricane Irene, 2,000 volunteers cleaned the homes of 600 families.
Church leader Elder Jeffery E. Olson said Mormon Helping Hands volunteers have cared as much for the people as for the work they are doing. “The volunteers are listening to [people’s] challenges and giving them hope, reassuring them that they are not alone, that we are in this with them. We reminded them that this service is as important as the cleanup.”
On Saturday, September 10, 2011, members of the Church from the New Haven CT Stake gathered as volunteers to clean up portions of the Gulf Beach area of Milford, an area heavily damaged when Hurricane Irene raged over Connecticut on August 27-28, 2011.
The “Helping Hands” volunteers were of various ages and backgrounds. They took on many tasks: furniture and appliance removal from damaged homes, debris and sand removal from yards and driveways along with clearing and preventing mold in flooded basements and crawl spaces. The work was labor-intensive but very satisfying.
Bishop Adam Brinkerhoff of the Woodbridge congregation, which includes the town of Milford, expressed a strong desire to build relationships with members of the community. “We want them to know that we’re here and we want to help.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a rich history of serving communities in Connecticut. Members of the Church have prepared and served food at local soup kitchens, built housing for local families while partnering with Habitat for Humanity, cleaned yards for the elderly, painted and re-roofed homes and recreation buildings at youth camps, helped at a local farm which raises vegetables for the poor, prepared flower beds in the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden and built a handicap access to the pond at Stratton Brook State Park. Youth of the Hartford Stake have served at a local woman’s shelter, the 4H Farm Resource Center, the Greater Hartford Association for Retarded Citizens, the Greater Hartford Easter Seal Rehab Center and at several local convalescent homes. The Church has partnered with the American Red Cross in sponsoring blood drives. Recently, the Church has sent help to Springfield, Massachusetts to help in the recovery effort following a recent tornado.
These types of projects are carried out by Church members all over Connecticut and Rhode Island each year. While communities benefit with each project, we all benefit from the efforts we make to join together with our neighbors in humanitarian service.