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LDS Helping Hands volunteers joining to help tornado victims

By Genelle Pugmire - | Dec 15, 2021

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

Helping Hands volunteers place a tarp on the roof of a damaged house in Pensacola, Florida, over the weekend of Oct. 16-18, 2020.

As more information continues to come out concerning the devastation caused by tornadoes in the American southeast, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is gathering Helping Hands volunteers.

“Our prayers are with all who are suffering from catastrophic loss due to the recent storm and devastating tornadoes in Kentucky, Tennessee and surrounding states. In checking on our church members and missionaries, our hearts are full of gratitude that no lives were lost. Still, we are mindful that many friends and neighbors are grieving the loss of loved ones, and we mourn with them.” said Elder Jared W. Stone, regional ecclesiastical leader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Our meetinghouses suffered only minor damage, but some of our Church members lost their entire homes and places of business.”

“Our brothers and sisters in Kentucky, Tennessee and surrounding states are bruised but not forever broken,” Stone said. “The landscape of these states has been beaten down, but communities will rise from the depths of destruction through faith in God, hard work and a helping hand from friends near and far.”

Helping Hands volunteers assist homeowners along with first responders and churches who are busy responding to community needs. Volunteers can clear debris, perform flood damage mitigation, and tarp roofs while bringing comfort in their trademark yellow shirts and vests. All services are performed at no cost.

“Over the coming days, yellow-shirted Helping Hands disaster relief volunteers from the Church will be on the ground to help. All are anxious to serve and do as our Savior, Jesus Christ, taught – to bear one another’s burdens. We have the sacred opportunity to love our neighbor and be His helping hands here on earth,” Stone said.

Since 1998, Helping Hands volunteers have helped people worldwide in the wake of natural disasters and other emergencies. Tens of thousands of volunteers have assisted southeastern communities after flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Rick Long, Area Welfare and Self-Reliance Manager commented, “When disaster strikes, the world pays attention for just a moment. Then, Latter-day Saint Charities, the Church’s humanitarian arm, and the Helping Hands volunteers get to work. They answer calls to the crisis cleanup hotline and collaborate and coordinate with faith groups and charitable organizations to provide humanitarian relief.”

Donations of food boxes, clothing, water and cleaning kits to aid victims are being sent to affected communities, along with tools such as chainsaws, hand trucks, debris sleds and tarps, to assist Helping Hands volunteers, according to Long.

“The Southeastern United States has seen more than its fair share of storms this year. It changes our hearts when we serve, reignites our empathy and reminds us what is important,” said Mike Dohm, Regional Welfare and Self-Reliance Manager.” With each disaster, our faith drives us to reach out into our communities and help where we can.”

Survivors needing assistance at their residence can call the crisis cleanup hotline at 1-800-451-1954. Crisis Cleanup is a collaborative disaster work order management platform used by many disaster relief organizations. All services are free. Volunteers from around the country donate time to answer calls from survivors and catalog work orders.

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