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Church group to do cleanup

About 800 volunteers will take on 15 projects

Posted: April 22, 2009 10:24 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Hard work. Humanitarianism. Put those endeavors together and one can do a lot of good in this world. Such combined synergy is behind the Mormon Helping Hands project, which will be held Saturday in the Santa Clarita Valley and statewide as 20,000 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members volunteer to help spruce up their communities.

In all, 15 projects will be undertaken by 800 Church members in the SCV. Tasks will include graffiti clean-up, planting groundcover in parks and painting the SCV Senior Center's exterior. Approximately 450 church members, along with U.S. Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, (R-Santa Clarita), will plant trees and groundcover and paint buoys at Castaic Lake.

With the assistance of several professional painters and 40 volunteers, city Councilman Bob Kellar will help spruce up the Senior Center.

Kellar, a Senior Center foundation board member, said it's his honor to take part in the project.

"I am humbled to be a part of this grand-scale humanitarian event," Kellar said. "The selfless diligence that the members of the Mormon church demonstrate through this project is to be commended. Everyone benefits from their charitable efforts."

Local attorney Rick Patterson helped organize the massive project.

Patterson, president of the SCV Committee on Aging, said it came as good news when he learned the Senior Center would be among locations benefited.

"Ongoing maintenance is critical to preserving the aging Senior Center but like so many non-profit organizations, budgets are very tight and there is very little available for facilities maintenance," Patterson said.

Planning for "Mormon Helping Hands" day of service began last year with a request to City Manager Ken Pulskamp and then-mayor Kellar, said Gary Larkins, Church public affairs coordinator.

President Jerry Garns and President Steven Lindberg, church leaders who oversee all the local LDS congregations, have worked hard to help coordinate these ambitious events, Larkins said.

Larkins notes that Mormon Church members prize the SCV and are eager to pitch in.

"We do not take for granted the privilege that is ours to live in this great community," Larkins said. "We appreciate the natural beauty of the valley as well as the quality of people the Santa Clarita Valley attracts Therefore, we consider it a privilege and an honor to periodically dedicate our time and energy towards the beautification of our neighborhoods."


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