LDS join in 'Paint Your Heart Out Shreveport'


For the second year in a row Latter-day Saints from the Shreveport/Bossier City area of northwest Louisiana joined in partnership with their local office of community development in Paint Your Heart Out Shreveport as part of their Day of Service. The goal of PYHOS is to provide exterior refurbishment throughout Shreveport to homes owned by citizens who are elderly or have disabilities.

This year, more than 80 Latter-day Saints provided the work force at four of the 36 homes that were painted or spruced up in other ways. Volunteers from the Shreveport Louisiana Stake converged on their designated homes the morning of May 19 to paint, do yard work and other exterior improvement projects, such as minor roof repair and planting flowers.

Church members worked alongside volunteers from other organizations to complete the work at each home. Jan Burton, a member of the Stonewall Ward, directed the painting at one home. Her team joined with volunteers from a squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base. Sister Burton said, "It was remarkable to see that despite not knowing our fellow volunteers from the air force beforehand, we worked cohesively in a united effort to serve our sweet homeowner, Mary Antwine. This is one of the most worthwhile projects in which I've participated. Seeing the look on Ms. Antwine's face as she watched her home be transformed provided immediate gratification."

Stephenie Dellenbach, Ty Knight, Jenny Ludlow, Mayor Cedric Glover, and Katie Geldmacher.
Stephenie Dellenbach, Ty Knight, Jenny Ludlow, Mayor Cedric Glover, and Katie Geldmacher. | Photo by Jenny Ludlow

Paint Your Heart Out Shreveport and the Church have a lot in common: helping others through service. "It is outstanding to see members of your own congregation working so hard to help in the community. Working with PYHOS has been an experienc near to our hearts as we carry the same values of trying to make life a little be better for those around us," said Shreveport Ward Bishop Ross Smith.

In addition to linking arms with other volunteers to paint homes, LDS volunteers provided emergency kits for all 36 homes involved in PYHOS, a project that was carried out for the first time last year. The emergency kits, packaged in 5-gallon buckets, were assembled by more than 40 Church members and contained a three-day supply of food, water and emergency supplies for two people.

Volunteers package items for emergency kits.
Volunteers package items for emergency kits. | Photo by Jenny Ludlow

Last year at a city council meeting, Mayor Cedric Glover recognized members of the Church for the donation of emergency kits. Mayor Glover stated, "We are grateful to the good members of the LDS church for their effort to prepare elderly and disabled homeowners in Shreveport for emergency situations. Their participation in our annual event has enhanced the experience for all involved." At the city council meeting, Stephanie Dellenbach presented Mayor Glover with an emergency kit for his own household.

"It was a wonderful experience to be able to not only supply a service that was asked for but also fill an extra need in our community," said Sister Dellenbach, who came up with the idea of the emergency kits and headed up that portion of the service. Sister Dellenbach, who is actively involved in trying to help all citizens of the community be prepared for emergency situations, thought it would be a great way to help elderly citizens and those with disabilities in Shreveport feel more prepared. "We never know when a situation might arise; providing these emergency kits is providing each homeowner with a Plan B if an emergency were to happen."

In addition to being recognized for the donation of emergency kits, one painting team led by Bossier City Ward member Kurt Parks won second place in the Team Spirit Award competition in which teams were judged on the quality of their painting as well as any additional projects that were completed for the homeowner. Brother Parks' team assisted their homeowner with much-needed yard work, removal of debris and roof repair. Latter-day Saints will be recognized at the next Shreveport city council meeting for placing second in the Team Spirit Award and donating emergency kits.

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