Day of compassion and service planned

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Huntington Beach and the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council are joining forces for a day of community service on Saturday.

Organizers estimate that more than 1,000 volunteers will lend a hand on about 30 improvement projects throughout Surf City and Fountain Valley for the Compassionate Day of Community Service, also known as the Mormon Helping Hands program.

Local members of the church have organized such efforts to help the community for about six years and invited the Interfaith Council to join in and sponsor this year's event.

"It's so great that we can work together," said Jynene Johnson, event chair and member of the Mormon church. "Everybody comes from diverse backgrounds and faiths, but one thing that brings everybody together is helping when there's a need."

Projects include mulching and weeding at the Mile Square Park soccer fields, planting new flora at the Fountain Valley Nature Center, doing handy work for widowed seniors and diving into various gardening and housework chores at the Community Service Programs' Youth Shelter in Huntington Beach.

"They help with gardening, trimming, mulching and any work outside," said Elsa Greenfield, program director for the shelter. "They do a lot of cleaning, repairs, organize the pantry and more. It's been a really great experience working with that group."

The Rev. Peggy Price, a founder of the Interfaith Council and co-chair of the Huntington Beach City of Compassion Committee, said the joint venture with the Mormon Church was a way to help the city with its Compassionate Cities effort and large-scale day of projects.

Price said doing volunteer work can help the helper as well as the recipient of the deed.

"We've got enough of the negative stuff floating around right now, like people calling other people names and doing this and that," she said. "But if we can actually start to witness more and more acts of good, we can shift some of those attitudes. We can make things better for people."

To sign up for a community project, email or call (714) 315-7720. To view the list of projects, go to

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