Here in western Washington last Saturday, over 11,000 Mormons gathered at approximately 150 different locations. We joined a trend, which tempts me toward the sin of pride. President Obama had designated September 11, as a day for the nation to serve in remembrance. For a number of reasons, that day of service got moved; but the Mormon momentum was already strong. Still, it is important to note that the Mormons could not have done it alone. Community partners provided tremendous amounts of aid and organization. These folks included Presbyterian, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Muslim faith groups; the American Red Cross; YMCA; various municipalities; Catholic Community Services; Rotary International, and many others.
The 10 congregations in my immediate area participated in a drive that filled trucks for three different local food banks. It was fun for me to take my nine year old son to first leave leaflets with my neighbors and then return on Saturday to pick up their generous contributions.
One of my friends that worked in the coordination efforts sent a description of a few of the many other activities (and the pictures):
In Sammamish and Redmond, Parks and Recreation worked with volunteers in the creation of new boardwalks, new gravel trails, and large scale invasive plant clean-up. In Seattle, we helped coordinate a gorgeous wetlands restoration at Magnuson Park reclaiming native pond areas from an old abandoned air strip. In Renton we teamed up with the Renton Housing Authority at four locations to spruce up a 60 unit housing area for low-income elderly. In Bellevue volunteers worked to gather back-to-school supplies and on clothing drives for the needy, including free haircuts and complimentary ‘back to school’ pictures. With Renton Parks we coordinated a multi-area Cedar River Trail invasive plant clean-up, which opened up river views for trail-runners and cyclists. In Bellevue and Redmond, VFW leaders helped coordinate a multi-area overseas package drive and letter writing campaign for infantry most at risk in Afghanistan. Funding for overseas package shipments was simultaneously coordinated in drop-off locations and was supported by Bellevue veterans.