Hundreds of Arizona JustServe Volunteers Demonstrate How to “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself” – Church News and Events
Several community organizations around Chandler, Arizona now have new supplies and items to help the people they serve after some 200 volunteers worked together to collect, assemble, create, sort, sew and package a variety of small and great projects in a long day of public service.
Almost every square inch of the gymnasium at Legacy Traditional School in southeast Chandler was filled with people working on these projects for the “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself” event in February.
In one area, volunteers connected plastic grocery bags to make plastic yarn – or plarn – then wove it into sleeping mats for homeless people.
Others have sewn port pillows, which provide comfort to chemotherapy patients by protecting the skin around a portacath. People have also sewn wave quilts with sensory and tactile stimulation to be given to Alzheimer’s patients at senior centers.
Volunteers also sorted clothes, wrapped food, made inspirational cards, and assembled goody bags and hygiene kits for various nonprofit groups. Almost all of the projects were listed on JustServe.org, which is a website and app that connects community organizations with volunteers.
Members of the Chandler Arizona South Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Sun Valley Community Church, and several members of a high school football team all participated.
JustServe Stake Specialist Lori Neff said it sounded like a huge undertaking, but she kept going.
“I was inspired for a reason, and the Lord wanted me to do this, because it’s His work,” she said. “And it was actually very easy, because if you follow the inspiration, things fall into place. And they did.
Serve all day together
While planning the event, Neff worked with Pastor Brett Humphrey of Sun Valley Community Church — who also knew Chandler Arizona South Stake president Troy B. Hansen from beforehand.
All three wore special red aprons on which Neff had embroidered “Love Thy Neighbor,” to make them more visible to anyone who had questions during the day of service.
“It was fun to see people working together for a common cause and building a Christ-centered community,” Neff said.
The work was difficult – for example, it took around 450 plastic bags to weave a plarn sleeping mat. Collecting and assembling the supplies beforehand took time, and then assembling and completing the various projects took all day. But the work not only blessed those in need, it also blessed those who served.
Among the approximately 200 volunteers who showed up, Neff saw an older woman teaching a child how to use one of the sewing machines. Missionaries and neighbors worked side by side. The young women were smiling and laughing together.
A father brought two of his children – a teenager and a pre-teen – who hadn’t wanted to go. “He said, ‘We’ll go for two hours, and we’ll leave.’ But then they wanted to stay all day – he couldn’t get them to leave,” Neff said.
As Neff spoke with community members and neighbors around the school gymnasium, she told them about JustServe. Banners, wristbands and other items also informed people about the service platform.
working together again
Another interfaith event is being planned for the upcoming 9/11 National Day of Service, and organizers will again use JustServe. Pastor Humphrey and President Hansen want to hold another “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself” service event next February as well, and invite even more school groups and sports teams.
“So it’s going to be a community thing as well as an interfaith thing,” Neff said. “We are united in our efforts to help those in need.”
When it comes to planning such an important event, Neff said JustServe specialists and Church members should not be afraid to reach out to other groups and churches.
“We are not the only ones serving in our community,” she said. “There are a lot of services going on that aren’t just us. Come to common ground – we love to serve, great let’s do it together.
- 801 complete snack bags
- 470 hygiene kits
- 226 inspiring cards
- 154 port pillows
- 20 choppy quilts
- 8 floor mats
- A children’s clothing truck