2 churches combine efforts to help the needy - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

2 churches combine efforts to help the needy

April 28th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
2 churches combine efforts to help the needy

By Robin Finlinson
Guest Writer

An event titled “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself” recently brought together members of two churches – Sun Valley Community Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – as well as several members of a high school football team to serve people with various needs.

The gymnasium of Legacy Traditional School in southeast Chandler provided ample room for projects benefitting numerous local nonprofits and senior centers. For five hours, the volunteers were welcome to spend as much time as they wanted on projects they chose. Donations for each project were previously collected.

Many volunteers prepared long strands of grocery bags. They were then used by other volunteers to create “plarn” mats for people experiencing homelessness. Instead of yarn, plastic bags were woven together. Approximately 450 bags are required to create a single mat. The nonprofit 2Fish & 5Loaves received the finished products.

Inspirational cards were created for AZCEND and are now being given to seniors living alone to brighten their day. Some volunteers flattened another assortment of grocery bags to be used in AZCEND’s food bank.

Three separate projects supported Cultivate Goodness. Port pillows were sewn for the comfort of chemotherapy patients. An array of pre-packaged edibles were assembled into snack bags to be given to homeless individuals. Greeting cards were made and became part of goodie bags later delivered to the Mesa Police Department, Meals on Wheels, and cancer patients at Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson.

Scraps of soap, donated by a local soap company, were cut and placed into plastic bags. Many were immediately included in hygiene kits for Dsquared Homes for the Homeless; well over 1,500 additional cut scraps are now ready to be inserted into future kits as needed.

Donated clothing was sorted to help with its distribution to foster children through Helen’s Hope Chest.

Fidget quilts were sewn for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, then distributed to senior centers.

The event was organized by Lori Neff, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She also represents justserve.org, a website created and maintained by the Church to connect people who would like to volunteer in some way with multiple opportunities.

Ecclesiastical leaders of the two churches, Pastor Brett Humphrey of Sun Valley and Stake President Troy Hansen of the Church of Jesus Christ, were among approximately 200 volunteers.

The results included: 801 complete snack bags, 470 hygiene kits, 226 inspirational cards, 154 port pillows, 20 fidget quilts, eight plarn mats and a truckload of sorted children’s clothing.

Volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to serve. A father had told his two teenagers that he expected them to help for a little while.

But once they got started, they didn’t want to leave, and they stayed the whole time. Several participants expressed the hope that this will become an annual event, including Dr. Lessina Cline of Sun Valley.

Originally from The Republic of The Gambia in northwest Africa, she said, “If we all forget about our backgrounds and come together, the church of God would be stronger, and we would be able to do much more.”

Most of the above-mentioned nonprofits (and myriad more) have projects posted at justserve.org. Everyone interested in finding volunteer opportunities—either local or remote—is welcome to visit that website.

Robin Finlinson is a Chandler Area JustServe specialist.