Young single adults from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa, Arizona, recently helped over 100 people experiencing homelessness find food, clothing and other resources, ChurchofJesusChrist.org reported.
The effort was held through Human Services Campus, a homelessness resource center in Phoenix, Arizona. The organization offers a service called Project Connect, a one-day traveling resource center held every four to six weeks in various locations across the Phoenix metro area.
Three YSA stakes hosted the Aug. 16 event at the historic Inter-Stake Center near downtown Mesa, including the Mesa Arizona YSA East Stake, Mesa Arizona YSA West Stake and Tempe Arizona YSA Stake.
Young adults from the Mesa East YSA Stake collected and assembled items for more than 150 hygiene kits and snack packs, while members of the Tempe YSA Stake held a clothing drive. Mesa West YSA Stake young adults prepped food for lunch at the event.
Other volunteers got involved through JustServe, which Human Services Campus development manager Kim Beaudoin called “instrumental” in finding needed volunteers.
She also emphasized the importance of host sites to Project Connect’s work.
“We could not do this without the host sites... Having places that are strategically far from where we [usually] serve our clients, to be able to extend that reach and meet people where they’re at, is a huge valuable resource for us,” Beaudoin said.
During the event, volunteers directed guests to services such as housing assistance, social security benefits, state-issued IDs and more. They also sorted clothing donations, prepared and served a meal, and helped set up and take down the event.
Natalie Nilsen, a young adult from the Mesa West YSA Stake, rearranged her work schedule so she could attend.
“There are so many things I want to do to help and so many people that can be helped. ... It just fills me up to be able to be in the service of others,” she said.
Scott Dike, a young adult from the Mesa East YSA Stake, added that serving with Project Connect was an “amazing” experience.
“It helps me feel like I’m doing what Jesus Christ would do and helping other people receive the care they really need in this moment,” he said.
The guests came from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. One woman, who had left an abusive relationship just days earlier, tearfully expressed her gratitude to her young adult guide.
“I have nothing, I left everything behind,” she said. “I never would have thought I would be in this situation. Thank you for your generosity and kindness toward me.”