Published on Wed, Sep 21, 2011
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With shovels, rakes and paintbrushes in tow, hundreds of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Lake Stevens and surrounding communities, gathered on Saturday, September 17, in an effort to give back to the community they live in and love.
The Church’s annual Northwest Day Service took place in communities all over Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Alaska and British Columbia.
The year 2011 is a new milestone for the Day of Service: it will be a global event. In April, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints called on all members worldwide to participate in a dedicated day of service, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Church’s welfare program.
“All people are happier and feel more self-respect when they can provide for themselves and their family and then reach out to take care of others,” Henry B. Eyring, a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ, whose members are also broadly known as Mormons and Latter-Day Saints.
In Lake Stevens church and community members worked together to pressure wash and stain the much loved Kid’s Oasis playground at Mount Pilchuck Elementary School.
“Kid’s Oasis is an important playground in the community, a landmark really,” Jennifer Barnes and local event coordinator said. “The school district doesn’t have a lot of money and we really wanted to be able to help them out. It comes down to having pride in your community.”
Residents of all ages were able to contribute in their own way. Raking rocks, applying stain and sweeping off walkways are just some of the tasks that needed to be done to complete the vast amount of work that needed to be accomplished in a four hour period.
“I like helping people and it makes me happy,” 12-year-old Kailyn Nelson said as she was painting slats on the fence around the playground.
Working together as families, friends and neighbors made the time go by quickly and added to the excitement of the day. Making new friends is an added bonus for many who spent their Saturday giving back.
“Projects like these bring people together,” Audrey Morgan said. “You get to know people you may not know otherwise.”
While folks finished up their work at Kid’s Oasis, others were painting the outside of the City’s 40,000 square foot industrial building on 131st St. NE. Even more people were at Machias Cemetery cleaning off headstones, cutting down tree limbs and adding beauty bark to gravesites.
“A lot of our Ward (congregation) members have family here,” Teri Scott said. “It’s a community cemetery and we are part of this community. We have to help where we are needed.”
The Horne family worked together taking moss off of a headstone and clearing the grass around the plot. Teaching by example is an important part of serving.
“We made it a family project,” explained Elaine Horne, mother of four. “It’s important for them (her children) to do something outside of themselves. It sets a good precedent for others to follow.”
As the rain started to fall, those giving service were just finishing up the projects around Lake Stevens. Many were laughing and all of them had smiles on their faces.
On the first Day of Service Northwest, September 11, 2010, more than 14,000 volunteers throughout Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho gave more than 35,000 hours of service partnering with others in their communities with projects such as large-scale food drives, blood drives, wetlands restorations, parks and trails work and much more.
In Lake Stevens community members worked together to paint City Hall and the Permit Center and to clean the grounds at local schools and fire stations.
Thanks to Albertsons, Ace Hardware, Lake Stevens School District and the City of Lake Stevens for helping with donations to complete the projects.