Twenty-one years ago, the United States changed forever when 2,977 people were killed in terrorist attacks.
To honor the victims, every year on or around Sept. 11, people living in the United States and Canada are invited to take part in the National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year, with Sept. 11 falling on a Sunday, the day of service is Saturday, Sept. 10.
All are invited to join a service project on JustServe on Sept. 10, 2022, or in the following days, to help make the world a brighter place. The following are ideas from JustServe.org.
Invite a friend in need to serve with you. September is Mental Illness Awareness month. We know many hearts can find joy and healing through service. ❤️— JustServe (@JustServe) September 5, 2022
- Make thank-you cards for first responders.
- Give a flower to a veteran.
- Donate blood.
- Participate in a local park cleanup.
- Make kits for refugees — kits for kids, teen kits, laundry kits, etc.
- Send a letter to a deployed soldier.
- Walk a neighbor’s dog.
- Do yard work for a friend or neighbor.
- Wash the dishes for someone.
- Send a card to a resident of an assisted-living facility
- Donate to a food pantry.
- Call an elderly friend or relative to talk.
- Offer to babysit for a friend.
- Make a fleece blanket for a child in foster care.
Many other ideas can be found at JustServe.org or on the free JustServe app. People can find local service projects, volunteer remotely or post a service opportunity. Many stakes have organized their own service projects and have been announcing those opportunities and needs to ward members.
“We lay a foundation of unity for our nation when we honor those who lost their lives on this day,” explained a JustServe Instagram post. “Through service, we can help heal hearts and strengthen our communities.”
The anniversary of JustServe
JustServe celebrates its 11th anniversary this week, but its roots go back to 2006.
Back then, President M. Russell Ballard, now Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was the chairman of the Church’s Missionary Executive Committee. Elder Richard J. Maynes, now an emeritus general authority, was also serving on the committee.
The two men and several others recognized a need to help missionaries find ways to serve in their communities during the daytime hours. Missionaries were eager to serve, but they didn’t know where to begin.
“JustServe was the key for missionaries to find service opportunities in their assigned communities,” Elder Maynes told the Church News in 2020.
Elder William Price and Sister Sidney Price were called to help start the online JustServe initiative in 2011. By early 2012, a pilot program of JustServe was underway in the California San Jose Mission — and soon it was incorporated into many other missions.
JustServe.org was to have only one component — Christlike service to neighbors.
“It’s service for the sake of service,” said Elder Maynes. “It’s an opportunity to build relationships.”
Service can change the world
President Ballard has often spoken about the profound blessings and necessity of service. In his October 2012 general conference talk, “Be Anxiously Engaged,” he said: “Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us. ... What would be the cumulative effect of millions of small, compassionate acts performed daily by us because of our heartfelt Christian love for others?”
This week, President Ballard posted a message on social media about how service to one another can bring peace of mind and happiness in world of uncertainty, complexity and confusion.
“Great things are wrought through simple and small acts of kindness and service,” President Ballard wrote. “They will accumulate into a life filled with love for Heavenly Father, devotion to the work of Jesus Christ, and a sense of peace and joy each time we reach out to one another.”