Yellow vests to canvas Southern California
It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.
Approximately 20,000 Church members wearing yellow "Mormon Helping Hands" vests will participate in service projects throughout Southern California on April 25, according to Kevin Hamilton of the Southern California Public Affairs Council.
"We have approximately 91 stakes from Bakersfield to San Diego and the Mexican border," Brother Hamilton said. "I can't (pinpoint) a precise number, but I believe 86 or 87 of those stakes have a service project planned (for April 25).
"The theme is 'Community Service, making our communities a better place.' (The volunteers) will be working under the direction or under the brand of Mormon Helping Hands. They'll be wearing the yellow vests. We estimate there will be somewhere around 20,000 participants area-wide."
Some of the planned projects include repairing schools, renovating community parks, cleaning up beaches, volunteering at a cancer fund raiser, generally beautifying the community and picking up trash at Joshua Tree National Park.
With the recent economic downturn, local governments all across Southern California have been receptive to the prospects of receiving service from Mormon Helping Hands.
"As we've approached community and government officials, they've been very, very cooperative," Brother Hamilton said. "They're quite happy to see us get involved and very willing to provide projects for us.
"Especially with the current economy, we guessed correctly that local governments and municipalities would be cash-strapped and that they would be very happy for outsiders to come in and do things that would make the community more attractive, more livable without having to spend municipal budgets for it."
Brother Hamilton gained exposure to the Mormon Helping Hands program while he served as president of the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands mission from 2003-06.
"I was serving as a mission president in Europe and we did (Mormon Helping Hands) in western Europe very successfully," he said. "When I got home, back to California, in the summer of 2006 we were asked to inaugurate this in the California area, so I've kind of been working on that ever since."
He said they plan to do a service project every year.