State-wide service blitz commemorates sesquicentennial


"Clean is the most beautiful color!" one member of the Anaheim 10th Ward, Anaheim California East Stake, declared while painting a graffiti-stained wall in Anaheim, Calif., July 27. The service project, sponsored by the Anaheim 10th Ward, was just one of several conducted by wards here in commemoration of the arrival of the Brooklyn.

Throughout Anaheim and the neighboring communities of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Yorba Linda and Willa Park, members gathered for painting and cleaning. For example, the Yorba Linda 3rd Ward, under direction of the city's water district, painted fire hydrants. The Yorba Linda 4th and Anaheim 6th wards weeded grounds at local high schools and scrubbed and arranged classrooms in preparation for fall. For their Eagle Scout projects, two Scouts organized the Yorba Linda 5th Ward's project, bringing together 100 people to renovate playground structures at the community park. In addition, members of the Anaheim 9th Ward collected two dumpsters of trash and tree trimmings from a river trail used by walkers, skaters, joggers and bikers. At a stake picnic after the service projects, stake Pres. Robert E. Greene said: "We come to the close of our service day sunburned and fatigued and grateful we could do some good in our neighborhoods. The fellowship of laughter and labor has bonded members and friends and will have its own great impact in our beautiful community."


Some 350 members of the Canoga Park California Stake gave approximately 1,480 hours of their time July 27 at the local United Cerebral Palsy/Spastic Children's Foundation. Beginning early in the morning, the stake members, including youth and adults, landscaped the grounds of the facility. They repaired and added to the sprinkler system, weeded and cleared, and planted. Christie Gutierrez, a member of the stake who is also a professional landscaper, volunteered her time and expertise. In the evening after the service project, members gathered at the Woodland Hills meetinghouse for activities and dinner. About 600 members and guests played games, held a parade honoring the pioneers and international heritage and had a "walk around the world." The various rooms in the building were decorated according to different cultures represented within the stake.


"Could you do this again next week?" Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Sullivan asked Latter-day Saints here as Huntington Beach California North Stake members prepared to spread out in a community-wide service project. After a pancake breakfast attended by the mayor, three city council members and the director of Public Works, the workers divided into groups and fanned out across Huntington Beach and adjacent Westminster. Projects included pulling up non-native ice plants in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, painting a vintage farm house at the Westminster Historical Society and waxing and polishing two antique fire engines and filling boxes at the Orange County Community Development Council Food Bank. Carol Alejo, volunteer coordinator at the food bank, said: "Your people have been the most productive volunteers we've ever had. Come back anytime." Additional projects were picking up trash and refurbishing benches and tables at several parks and a community center, making five quilts for the homeless and washing wheelchairs at a convalescent home.

Carolyn Allen, stake community relations director,estimated that some 567 volunteers donated 2,035 hours of service.


Members here commemorated the sesquicentennial a little earlier than other wards and stakes by joining with the national non-profit organization, Christmas in April. During a one-day blitz April 27, members worked at two sites, a homeless shelter and a mercy house in Santa Ana.

The homeless shelter, a three-story home with a detached garage, was painted inside and outside by the volunteers after they repaired porch railings, porch cover, windows and screens. At the mercy house, cabinets and shelves were added, along with a three-wall panoramic painting in the instruction classroom.


Latter-day Saints in this stake conducted two projects that seemed to gain lives of their own. First, earlier this year stake members planned for a multi-stake service project at the San Jose Historical Museum that eventually became part of a community-wide project.

Some 1,500 LDS families throughout San Jose joined with "CHARITech," an advisory board of corporate and non-profit leaders whose mission is to promote community involvement, for "An Extraordinary Day of Community" that extended beyond volunteer service at the museum. Participants cleaned the sides of area expressways, fed the homeless and worked in an orchard on the grounds of the museum.

In addition, a cast of some 30 stake members performed a musical, "Because of Elizabeth," which was originally produced as a pageant for the dedication of the Monuments to Women in Nauvoo, Ill., in 1978. The reader's theater was performed several times in commemoration of the California sesquicentennial, including at a convalescent hospital July 27 and at the Los Gatos Sacred Heart Jesuit Center for retired Catholic priests Aug. 8.


An "astounding" volume of work was done July 27 by stake members here, so much so that Ron Rodrigues of the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department said: "To have such commitment and help from the Mormons in the community is absolutely incredible. We really appreciate your help with projects we may never get to."

In the communities of Santa Maria, Orcutt and Nipomo, members did such things as re-paint parking lines, curbs, and rake leaves and debris throughout the campus of Allan Hancock College; plant 50 trees at Santa Maria Cemetery; install an exercise course at Lakeview Junior High School; construct 500 feet of fencing at the Nipomo Regional Park; clean up the Santa Maria Historical Museum; and install mileage markers around the perimeter of Preisker Park for walkers and joggers.


Members of the Upland California Stake chose to coincide their service with their local LDS heritage. Therefore, projects were chosen along Foothill Boulevard, a portion of Route 66 within stake boundaries that was carved out by San Bernardino Mormon pioneers as they delivered lumber products to Los Angeles and other areas.

At Memorial Park, a playground was refurbished and new sand was spread, a softball field fence and benches were painted, and bark was spread as part of landscape work. In addition, some 350 bags of trash and debris were picked up in the city of Rancho Cucamonga. Volunteers also worked at the Upland Public Library cleaning and re-shelving books, and preparing library materials.

Stake members also helped with a community food drive and did landscaping at a shelter.


Six separate projects were conducted by members of the Ventura California Stake. The Ojai 1st and 2nd wards cleaned, repaired and painted facilities at a "park and ride" lot. The Santa Paula Ward re-landscaped and put in a sprinkler system at Santa Paula High School, while the Ventura 1st and 2nd wards and San Buena Ventura (Spanish speaking) Branch conducted a work project at Ventura High School.

Members of the Ventura 3rd and 4th wards laid river-bed rock along the edge of the walkways and under the bridge in a beach area, while young single adults from the Ventura 5th Ward cleaned up and weeded grounds, and painted facilities at a local park.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed