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Lending a hand to those in need, young volunteers take time to serve the community

TAYLORSVILLE — Clementina Laufou kept peering out of the window of her home, telling a group of young adults they had already done enough, but the group just kept on working.

After losing her husband two years ago, Laufou has found it challenging to keep things up around her home. After already winterizing her swamp cooler, the group picked up rakes and began cleaning up her front yard.

"I keep telling them thank you so much for everything you're trying to do," Laufou said.

On Saturday, over 1,000 friends and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints's Taylorsville Young Single Adult Stake descended on the homes of over 600 single elderly women and widows in the Salt Lake valley who needed help with cleaning and repairs. Elderly couples, including non-LDS residents, were also served.

"We winterized a swamp cooler for her, and even though she told us not to rake, we're raking for her," said volunteer Vincent Beaver. "We wanted to focus on widows and single sisters... they are really powerful people."

Tim Taggart, second counselor for the stake, said the day of service was to commemorate the LDS Church's 75 anniversary of its welfare program. Church leaders have put out a challenge to stakes and wards to organize a day of service to the community.

"Our larger purpose is to make a connection with the young people as well as the widows," Taggart said.

Mary Campbell sat in her chair and looked on as a team of eight to 10 young volunteers worked to replace a section of the roof on her home. Having back trouble, Campbell, who is retired, said there are many things she can't do by herself. She was concerned that the coming winter would mean her belongings would be damaged.

Campbell said she was overwhelmed by the number of young workers who showed up to re-roof her home. Although she paid for the supplies, she said the labor was out of her price range. "I've really been blessed with people coming and helping me," she said.

Volunteer Joshua Kennington said given the number of people helping out the roofing job wasn't too bad. "It's what Jesus Christ would do," he said.

Taggart said his stake had also shot footage with a video camera and planned to show a video of the valley-wide project to the volunteers Saturday evening.