More than 150 volunteers from Houston area youth groups, labor unions and congregations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined together to help clean and restore three homes in need of significant repairs on Saturday.
The “Community Helping Community” event, held in the Northside area near downtown, was organized by the city of Houston’s Department of Neighborhoods and State Sen. Sylvia Garcia’s office.
The workers spent much of the morning and afternoon replacing doors, scraping, painting and clearing debris for the elderly owners of three houses who needed help to make necessary improvements on the properties.
“We’re working to give almost a complete makeover to several houses in the near Northside of downtown Houston,” Garcia said. “We’re cleaning, scraping and painting. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has got a huge crowd here and there are also workers from local labor unions and youth organizations. It’s a huge group effort with a lot of heart behind it. It’s just great to see. People talk about charity, people talk about giving back, but these folks are actually doing it today.”
One owner was able to move back into her home after the project was completed. The wear and tear on the house had forced the woman to move into an adjacent garage apartment, Garcia said.
Members and missionaries from three LDS congregations worked alongside the Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council, Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Avenue Community Development Corporation, and the National Hispanic Institute from morning to mid-afternoon to repair the homes.
“If you think about it, one of the central things we need is for communities to remain unified,” said Guillermo Cordova, 17, who came to the event with friends in the National Hispanic Institute from the Cypress area. “If more people were to help out others, we would have a better society.”
The Houston 3rd and Houston 5th wards, or congregations, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--both with predominantly Spanish-speaking members--organized together with the Melbourne congregation to participate in the project.
“We live by the rule that everyone is our brother and sister, so we try to help those that are within our faith but we also try to reach out as much as we can in the local community,” said Bishop Bruce On, who leads the Houston 3rd Ward. “It’s something that’s beautiful and brings us all together with like-minded friends.”
“Service is very important in our faith,” said Kayla Flores, 14, one of about 30 LDS youth who participated in the event. “We think it’s good to help out to lift the loads of other people and make it easier on them.”