Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All Ukraine Helping Hands Day 2 April 2011

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ukraine contributed more than 3,000 hours of community service on 2 April 2011 as part of the first ever All Ukraine Helping Hands Day. Some 50 communities were served by over 1100 volunteers throughout Ukraine. Projects included children’s playground repair and painting, repairing park benches, riverbank and park clean-up and many more things. Wearing the distinguishable Helping Hands white and yellow vests, volunteers worked with community leaders and other organizations to make Ukraine a better place to live.

In Chernivtsi, 30 volunteers refurbished the square near the monument to Maxim Gorky, clearing the park of debris, clipping the shrubs and planting flowers to welcome spring. Among the participants were community leaders: the district council chairman for Sadhirskoyi, George Burega, and Head of Environment District Councilman Sergei Melenchuk. In Sevestapol, a children’s playground was renovated with other congregations offering to join in on future projects to better serve the community. Project zaklyuchavsya located at Ivano-Frankivsk was the repair, cleaning and painting children's playground Danyy Maydanchyku. The cemetery in heart of the city of Rivne was readied for spring by cleaning the grounds, removing dead leaves, fallen branches, the winter buildup of trash, and other debris. In Lviv, the weather cleared just in time to clean, repair and paint the benches in Ivan Franko park, located in the heart of the city. City leaders were very pleased with the work and want to encourage such cooperative efforts throughout the city.

In Kiev, more than 350 members and their friends wearing vests with the words "Helping Hands” served in 9 locations, including the traditional clearing and cleaning of Babi Yar park joined by other congregations. Other places were determined to serve the local State Administration and utilities for maintaining green space. In Lutsk, invited friends and acquaintances numbered 35 people, who removed debris in the park Lesya Ukrainka and cleaned the beach on the river bank Stir. In the Mining District of Makeyevka, 25 members of the Church managed to clean the Square located around the Palace of Culture and remove garbage. In Donetsk, volunteers cleaned the territory of the city park, removing the debris accumulated over the winter months.

In Billa Tserka, a well organized group of 40 members cleaned the large park area, inviting other organizations to join in and participate in cleaning up the surrounding areas and festivities. Although in somewhat rainy conditions, 14 joined forces in Zhutomyr to clean the park in commemoration to Yuri Gagarin, removing over 25 bags of garbage and debris, making the grounds presentable and attractive for taking a stroll across the wooded areas. In Maripul, 20 combined their efforts to clean the large housing area that surrounds the church.

That same day, Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked all members around the world to perform a “Day of Service” to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Church’s welfare program. President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, made the announcement during the Saturday morning session at the 181st Annual General Conference. Local Church leaders decide the details of each project and Latter-day Saints are encouraged to invite neighbors and friends of the Church to participate. “The feelings of unity will multiply the good effects of the service you give. And those feelings of unity in families, in the Church, and in communities grow and will become a lasting legacy long after the project ends,” President Eyring said.

His words were demonstrated in deed, and fully realized during the All Ukraine Helping Hands Day, 2 April 2011. The consensus from participants is that this should become an annual event in Ukraine, encouraging cooperation with local communities and other organizations within the communities.

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