When the Convoy of Hope came to Pueblo, Colorado, in September, hundreds of volunteers were ready to help the international humanitarian faith-based organization fulfill its mission to provide food, supplies and health screenings for people.
Because of interfaith connection and preparation — and through volunteers signing up on JustServe.org — the service event saw 1,141 volunteers helping 5,452 people on Sept. 9 for the 9/11 National Day of Service.
During the event, 5,000 bags of groceries, 1,170 pairs of children’s shoes, 210 haircuts and 250 family portraits were provided at no charge. The guests received free backpacks, clothing, sports equipment, baby supplies, community services, health screenings, job counseling, dental screenings, a Kids Zone and a prayer tent.
Pastors at Praise Assembly Church in Pueblo began organizing with 21 local churches and organizations more than a year ago. The involvement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came about when Pueblo West 3rd Ward Bishop Brad Roberts — a physician — was given a flyer for the event by one of his patients.
When Bishop Roberts spoke with Pastor Jim Urie, he was welcomed to join the team as his medical services could be used in the health screening tent. As he continued to work with Pastor Urie and the local Convoy of Hope director, a positive relationship was formed. Bishop Roberts was then able to have the Pueblo Colorado Stake actively involved with the other organizations.
Eighty stake members volunteered, and the stake collected 500 sports balls to be handed out in the Kids Zone. The stake communications director and Mesa Ward JustServe specialist directed the collection and distribution of the sports balls and 1,500 four-packs of light bulbs.
The Pueblo Stake JustServe specialists set up a landing page for Convoy of Hope on JustServe.org asking for volunteers for the event, and many signed up to come. Urie was impressed to learn about JustServe and that the community had a tool where organizations could list their volunteer needs.
A JustServe information tent was set up during the Convoy event, where a senior missionary couple shared information about the JustServe website and app.
Young full-time missionaries from the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission helped as well. They passed out 5,000 promotional flyers in the community prior to the event, and on the day of the event, they set up tents and volunteered in the booths.
Elder Reese Penrod, a missionary from Orem, Utah, said, “It was really nice, seeing the way all these congregations came together to serve. It was special and fun to share that together.”
Bishop Roberts and Pueblo Stake presidency first counselor President Ralph M. Downey organized the medical services tent where attendees received health exams. Four dentists and an ophthalmologist performed over 100 exams in four hours. Around 30% of the patients were children.
Bishop Roberts recognized the special spirit involved with serving alongside fellow Christians. “The faith community wants to help, and if they can be involved in the community, then everyone wins,” he said.
Darby and Mike Jordan, Convoy of Hope directors, expressed their gratitude with these words: “You did an amazing job in leadership and individually. We love you all and it’s an amazing thing when we allow God to use us and take us outside of our comfort zone. Your hearts, sweet spirits and service were a bright light to us and our city and we loved meeting your youth, they were precious.”
Tamie Farris and Jenney Mead from Colorado contributed to this report.