Thousands of Mormons, et al.

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.

150 volunteers restoring the Magnuson Park wetlands in Seattle.

80 Volunteers at Pine Lake Park in Sammamish

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.

120 Volunteers helping the City of Renton's Housing Authority.


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    This is outstanding, J., thanks for the report!

  2. This is some of what I love best about us. We did huge projects here on the Eastside as well on Saturday.

  3. On Saturday, my stake hosted a 5K to raise money for a local shelter and we are in the midst of fund-raising a a Habitat for Humanity house. I am so glad we are doing this stuff, and credit the interest my stake president takes in it, largely.

  4. Thanks for the report, J. Great day!

  5. A 5K? Now that is cool. Did you have to run with hand carts?

  6. Richard Dance says:

    I found the food drive in the Bellevue South Stake to be a source of personal satisfaction. We went door to door and talked with all the neighbors we could when distributing the flyers. Then we went door to door collecting the food. People were so generous with 1 to 5 grocery bags of food. We had about a 33% participation rate. Some even went shopping especially to buy food for the food banks. It was a great service project.

  7. Awesome! My ward in Rexburg has made a tradition of this for a number of years now.

  8. Hey, J. Stapley,

    My little brother has a few months left in the Everett, WA mission…wonder if the missionaries participated in this?

    I wouldn’t have made the connection except your excerpt mentioned the town Sammamish, and I think he may have served there last year.

  9. It is quite likely that he did, Cantiflas. It is my understanding that in Everett they did clean-up at six different schools.

    Richard, thanks for stopping by and giving us a great account.

  10. J., our stake (Bellevue, WA) had several different projects to try and appeal to as many people as possible. A couple of wards were doing some tree planting at Cottage Lake, another couple were painting and doing maintenance work at the House of Hope women’s shelter in North Bend, some were distributing school supplies and clothes through a local charity. Our ward and one other collected comfort package goods for the front line troops in Afghanistan, in connection with the local VFW post. We far exceeded our expectations in terms of goods collected, and we were able through a youth car wash raise enough money to pay the postage on 150 of these packages. They will include snacks foods, personal hygiene items, and basic medical supplies like aspirin and eye drops. I know we got pictures, but I don’t have them myself. My garage is full right now of all the commodities waiting to be transported to the VFW later this week for packing.

    A friend in either the Kirkland or Bothell Stake said their stake was involved with a city wide food drive, and had at least 1,000 volunteers out canvassing for donations.

    All in all, a great day. Everybody seemed to be having a great time, and the VFW folks that we worked with, a couple of WWII vets, were thrilled at the results. And we used our missionaries in our ward to wash cars.

  11. Thanks Kevin!

    And we used our missionaries in our ward to wash cars.

    Ah, if only we could always use them that way!

  12. J. (and anyone else in the same area – and cantinflas), my son just passed his midway mark and serves now in the Redmond Second and Novelty Hill wards. If you see Elder DeGraw, tell him his Papa says hi – and feed him!

  13. I will be serving in eastern Washington (Everett mission, MTC in 2.4 weeks!), and this only makes me even more excited to meet all of the wonderful people there.

  14. Ray,

    Sorry to say that even though I live in Redmond, our little corner near Microsoft is actually in the Bellevue stake, and the Seattle mission. Our ward’s northern boundary is the border between the Seattle and Everett Mission, so I doubt we will run into him. Still, we will keep an eye out. He’s probably only living about 8 miles from where we are.

  15. Awesome.

  16. Outstanding.

  17. Wow, this is really cool. Thanks for sharing. I don’t think our stake has done anything like this. The closest thing I can think of is a blood drive.

  18. Sorry to tell you Shelley, but Everett is in western WA. Not every city can be cool enough to be in eastern WA, in fact very few are.

  19. No Yellow Bibs?! Nice way to remember 9/11.

    I saw what looked like a ward in our stake planting yet more trees on slopes on 9/11. If a tree is less than 20 years old on a public greenbelt in the city I live in, I’m pretty sure an LDS planted it.

  20. Eric S., President Kimball is surely proud.

  21. whoops, I totally meant western Washington. My bad!

  22. This is one of those moments in which I miss living in the Seattle North and Renton stakes. What a great report. Thanks, J.

  23. Ray

    My roommates are in redmond 2nd ward we have had your son over for dinner once or twice. next time I see him I’ll tell him hi for you. He a great young man.