Humanitarian Service in Phoenix
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 in the Phoenix area are also engaged in humanitarian efforts for the benefit of our communities. These efforts have included regular food drives for local charities. The Peoria and Surprise congregations hold an annual food drive for WasteNot AZ (see photo above) that over the last nine years has provided more than 6,700 turkeys for holiday dinners, along with more than 20 tons of other food products.
Countless quilts, baby items, school bags and Christmas stockings are also donated each year to organizations such as Pappas School for homeless children, Maggie’s Place for teenage mothers, the Chryssallis Shelter, the Florence Crittenton Shelter for troubled girls ages 10 to 18 years and Vista Coleana (a family shelter), as well as Deseret Industries, the Southwest Indian School, local hospitals and local schools. The Glendale Fire Department’s Crisis Response Team has been given blankets, stuffed toys and money to help with their relief efforts for children and families. Shelters in Wickenburg were sent clothing supplies and gift baskets.
In 2008, 22 boxes of supplies were sent to school children in Afghanistan. The boxes included throws and scarves and a special quilt for the officer in charge. Other items included school supplies, hats, socks, t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, Beanie Babies and humanitarian dolls. These were distributed by U.S. soldiers. Members also donated money to “Packages from Home” to help with their mailing costs. Habitat for Humanity has been the recipient of service from our members, not only with donated labor but with furnished window coverings and bed coverings for several families.
Members of all the stakes gather annually for the type of projects that require strong backs and dedication. On an average Saturday morning, most teenagers would be in bed sound asleep. However, on one special Saturday a year, 400 youth are out before the sun comes up, ready to work. For the past 15 years, the youth of the Phoenix Arizona North Stake, Deer Valley Arizona Stake and Phoenix Arizona East Stake have participated in a neighborhood beautification project with the Maryvale community. (Stakes are normally organizations of up to about 10 local Church congregations.)
This last year, the three stakes repainted 16 houses and re-landscaped the front yard of four houses on 21 and 22 November. The city of Phoenix identified the houses in the neighborhood that needed the most attention. After the youth painted and did yard work, the excitement continued as they delivered 100 turkeys to the people in the homes on which they worked and to the people in other neighboring homes. The families were overcome with gratitude and were often very curious about a group of youth who would willingly sacrifice their time to help. These young people painted houses, cleaned alleys, removed trash from yards, landscaped and repaired homes, at the same time lifting the spirits of many individuals and families.
These types of projects are carried out by the adults as well all over the Phoenix area 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.