News Release

Auckland ‘Mormon Helping Hands’ Volunteers Show Neighbourly Love

Members of the Aeroview Ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greeted their neighbours Saturday morning armed with weed eaters, rakes, brooms, lawn mowers and smiles to lend a helping hand with tidying up their yards in the Auckland suburb of Beachhaven.

“We had a manager from our congregation, Donovan Bickford,” said Bishop Grant Stone, leader of the Aeroview Ward.  “He has done a great job getting the project organized between the Trust board that’s here and the local community and now everyone’s turned up to do the job.”

People of all ages, including entire families, joined in the service project.  

“I love the whole idea of ‘Mormon Helping Hands,’” said Bickford. “I wanted kids to participate as well so they could mix and mingle with the neighbourhood kids.”

“It’s been an outreach bigger than just in-house,” he said. “Housing New Zealand provided a waste bin and Kaipatiki Trust provided a BBQ and sausage sizzle.”

“We’re here to do service, to mow lawns and pick up rubbish,” said nine-year-old Jessica Bickford. “You’re serving the Lord by helping other people, and I feel happy when I serve.”

Latter-day Saint missionary, Elder Dallin Secrist, said, “Service is all just part of the job — helping those in need."

He added: “When grass is knee-high, it gives you a sense of satisfaction that you’ve helped someone out because you were there. Imagine how much it would cost if they had to hire someone to do the work and sometimes they can’t afford it and that’s why it is knee-high. When we are there to help out, their face lights up and they thank us and I can say, ‘It’s just what we do because we love helping other people.’”

Several of the neighbours joined in with the volunteers helping to beautify their yards. One in particular mentioned that his wife loves to keep their yard looking good but has been busy helping a sick family member. He said she would be very surprised and grateful to have this service done for her.

Two of the volunteers asked a couple getting ready to drive off if they could mow their lawn for free. The wife’s response was, “This is free? Are you kidding? That is so nice!”

Jonathon Mahoney, a missionary from Perth, Australia, said, “Most missionaries would say they do this for the love of the people and also love for the Saviour, but it also helps us as well. It helps us missionaries to grow and when it comes to our future lives we’ll be there, first-hand, helping as well. And that’s probably because of the service we’ve given on our missions and the preparation we’ve done. We love doing it and love helping out.”

“I think this is wonderful,” said Jacquie Jarry, a neighbour and recipient of the service who came out to thank the volunteers. Members of the Church learned that Jacquie also loves to serve her community and does so by setting up neighbourhood support groups where people are encouraged to look after one another. She believes people of all faiths have a lot in common and need to work together to help one another.

Bishop Stone said: “The goal [of the activity] was to build relationships with the community within our congregation boundaries. We have several members of our congregation who live on this street, but many others are not of our faith, so we did a service project for both.”

Nearly 50 yards were tidied up Saturday and neighbours were able to meet and, in some instances, work alongside the “Mormon Helping Hands” volunteers.

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