Local members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — from left, Amanda Rand, Josh Rand, Dustin Halverson, Kevin Pulsipher and Nick Stewart refurbish a play structure in a Woodland park last year as part of Mormon Helping Hands Day, a day of service. Doreen Halverson/Courtesy photo

Local News

Helping Hands Day is a commitment to community

By April 20, 2011

You can help

What: Mormon Helping Hands Day of service, with projects throughout Davis

When: Beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 30, with a picnic to follow at noon

Where: Meet at Montgomery Elementary School, 1441 Danbury St., for work party assignments

Not long after Travis Lybbert arrived in Davis to join the university as a professor, he began to notice there was something different about this town in which he and his wife Heather had chosen to raise their two young children.

“Davis residents share a wonderful commitment to community, which makes it a great place to live and work,” he said recently as he prepared to take part in the Mormon Helping Hands Day of service on Saturday, April 30.

“As a family, we feel there is no better way to instill this commitment in our kids than to work side by side with them and our friends and neighbors to improve Davis’ public spaces and schools.”

Lybbert, who leads the Davis First Ward congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of a lay clergy, and his family will join an estimated 500 people locally and nearly 50,000 members statewide in the second annual day of service to benefit parks, beaches, school districts and cities.

The 2010 projects in California included more than 48,000 volunteers spending 196,000 man-hours on 350 projects throughout the state. Locally, more than 400 members of the LDS church and volunteers from the community who joined them refurbished eight parks in Woodland, including painting the historic Opera House.

In appreciation of the upcoming event, both Yolo County Board of Supervisors and the Davis City Council have proclaimed April 30 Mormon Helping Hands Day.

Throughout California, the effort is spearheaded by members of the LDS church, but includes community volunteers and members of other faith-based groups.

Corey Cuvelier, a Davis resident serving as president of the Woodland Stake, which includes congregations in Davis, Woodland, Winters and Dixon, has invited the community to become part of the service day.

“Last year, we tackled several much-needed projects in Woodland,” he said. “This year we wanted to set our sights on what we could do to serve our Davis community.

“If last year is any indication, we anticipate as many as 500 volunteers from at least four different communities to focus their energy on these renewal projects in Davis.”

Four service projects are planned in and around Davis. At Mace Ranch Channel, volunteers will spread bark chips, mulch, weed and remove debris, while at Arroyo Park, the group will do general gardening and rebuild a fence at Children’s Garden area, along with repairing and painting the outside of the Arthur Street bike tunnel.

For the Davis Joint Unified School District, the Mormon Helping Hands team will focus on landscape maintenance work at Montgomery Elementary School, including weeding, trimming, spreading bark chips, laying ground cloth in the planting beds, and waste/debris removal.

“The school and playground areas are in need of considerable landscape care,” Cuvelier said. “This is the largest project and has the capacity to employ as many as 300 volunteers alone. The school will benefit from our help.

“We invite people of all ages — even young children and teenagers — to volunteer with us in this worthwhile endeavor.”

At the suggestion of Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor, a service project also will take place at Yolo Community Care Continuum, the 30-year-old local nonprofit organization that provides programs for adults with mental illness.

At The Farmhouse residential treatment facility, a 10-acre farm between Davis and Woodland, volunteers will paint the exterior of the barn and do general grounds cleanup, gardening and planting to follow up on driveway repair already accomplished by Mormon Helping Hands volunteers last month.

Helping Hands volunteers will gather at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at Montgomery Elementary School, 1441 Danbury St. in South Davis, to receive instructions and assignments.

Then, the team will spread out into the community to accomplish their tasks, before coming back together around noon at the school’s picnic table area for hot dogs, burgers, salads and dessert.

The worldwide Mormon Helping Hands program was established in 1998 to provide service and disaster relief to those in need. Since then, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have donated millions of hours of service to their communities in many parts of the world, including Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe, the Pacific and the United States.

For more information on how to volunteer or donate goods, contact Joe Plicka at [email protected] or visit http://www.mhhcalifornia.org and follow the links to the Davis section. The site also provides a link to the Woodland Stake MHH Facebook page.

Heidi Bay

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