Helping Hands improve fields

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Volunteers from the Sparta Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following the direction of Sparta Township Mayor Jerry Murphy, spent their Saturday morning, July 21 spreading mulch at the Whitelake Road Sports Fields

The 2012 Mormon Helping Hands Day of Service project began with an opening ceremony at the sports field attended by Mayor Murphy and the Mormon Helping Hands volunteers. Dustin Townsend, acting bishop of the local Latter-day Saint congregation, welcomed the mayor and thanked him for his support. “Sparta Township Park Supervisor Jerry Younkers the Town Clerk Mary Coe were also instrumental in helping us make this project a successful contribution to the Sparta township community,” said Jill Thompson, the church’s project organizer.

“Budget cuts have prevented the town from being able to hire college kids in the summer to spread the mulch at the field, some of the mulch has been sitting there along the road for a few years now. This was the perfect partnering opportunity for the town and local church volunteers to get this work done,” said Ms. Thompson, also a Sparta resident.

“We had 50 men, women, teens and children out there Saturday morning to help out,” said Erica Townsend, one of the volunteers. We had 80 yards of mulch to be spread around the field and did it in three hours. We couldn’t have done it that quickly without the help of two of our church members, Marion Georgiev and Richard Boyle, who brought their own mini front-end loaders to the field and helped deposit loads of the mulch around the field.”

Other volunteers brought their rakes, leaf blowers, and other helpful tools required to get the job done for the town. “I was concerned that many of our congregation members were out of town and would not be able to attend a project that would require a lot of manpower. I was very touched that so many people came out to help,” said Mr. Townsend.

“The volunteers enjoyed their service, had fun together, and were pleased at the results of their hard work,” said Susan Stringham, Stake Director of Public Affairs for the Morristown Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “The goal for these volunteers is not only to provide service, but to foster a sense of duty and friendship with their community,” she said.

Multiple Day of Service projects were held throughout the tri-state area as part of the Latter-day Saint celebration of Pioneer Day. Pioneer Day activities are usually scheduled around July 24, the date in 1847 when the first Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. This celebration honors the faith, sacrifices, and lives of these early Latter-day Saints.

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