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Serving oldsters in 120 Brazilian cities

SAO PAULO Brazil — For the second year children in the Church donated their holiday Childs Day to serving the elderly. Some 16000 elderly people in 120 cities and 26 states in Brazil were assisted by 40000 LDS volunteers and friends of whom 25000 were children in the Helping Hands program.
Photo courtesy Brazil public affairsAbove among 25000 children to participate in service project to the elderly on Brazils annual Childs Day is child from Sorocaba Brazil Stake.
The children went to 300 nursing homes where they throughout the day after delivering kits they had helped assemble shared caring experiences looks and laughs — a day of celebration for all generations.
Prior to this event the children joined youth and adults to assemble kits of personal supplies for the oldsters. The children also painted and prepared cards to be given to the elderly.
In various cities parents of the young volunteers had a memorable day remodeling homes providing haircuts manicures and other grooming for the elderly people. Other activities occurred such as choirs plays and dances — helping them recall the old times.
In Belo Horizonte 500 boys and girls gathered in a plaza and from there went to 12 nursing homes. In one of them Maria do Carmo a 98-year-old resident who had no grandchildren of her own and in one day gained hundreds of them exclaimed with happy excitement: This is so wonderful. What can I say? Im so happy!
In Minas Gerais Terezinha Camara expressed the feeling of all: I am speechless this is so beautiful — the happiness that they have brought to me.
Living alone for years Maria das Neves Silva said: We feel very lonely so we feel very happy with all these children around here today.
In Porto Alegre more than 3000 volunteers visited more than 1300 elderly in 40 nursing homes. In the state of Sao Paulo where the greatest number of volunteers served 4500 people in about 45 cities and 90 nursing homes were visited and helped. As in other Brazilian regions the North and Northeast regions enthusiastically participated and more than 8000 elderly were visited.
In Salvador 70 children attended the Abrigo de Sao Gabriels 45 elderly residents. Resident Erosina Motta received her presents from the young volunteer Gabriela Conceicao 9 years old who very emotionally hugged her newest adopted grandma saying: She has been a child once. We need to take care of them as if they belonged to our family.
For Adilson Martho director of Lar Cidade nursing home in Jundiai Sao Paulo the children supplied what the elderly most needed: They lack the love and care that the children gave them.
With sadness some said: Not even our children have done what they are doing today.
The young volunteer Julia Braga from Louveira a town in Sao Paulo organized a campaign in her community to gather food products. She happily said: I got 50 kilos of food to take to the nursing homes. I like the Helping Hands project and I wish I could help more.
In Minas Gerais the Uberaba stake alone attended the 10 nursing homes located in their city as a result of much work and motivation of all in the stake. President Erick Maximo was very excited with the project and pleased with the members of the stake: What valuable brothers and sisters we have. We visited all the nursing homes in our community. We had a great success and want to do much more in the future.
Photo courtesy Brazil public affairsChildren from Maua Brazil Stake visit elderly in Lar Caminho de Ananias rest home.
In the day reserved for them our children gave a real present to their neighbor: they gave of themselves in a moment of closeness and love between generations.
At different times throughout the country TV Globo the largest television station in Brazil broadcast a 30-second advertisement about the project.
In the majority of the cities and nearly in all state capitals television and radio stations covered the events.
In Sao Paulo for example the Bom Dia Sao Paulo news program reported live from one of the Churchs buildings located in the north area of the capital. At the same time another reported from a Church meetinghouse in different city Jundiai. Other TV stations covered the project at different times of the day reaching 318 cities in the state of Sao Paulo and the interest multiplied in other regions of the country. In Natal northeast of Brazil Soyonara Alves a journalist of TV Globo commented: They showed a lot of love; instead of receiving they gave.
In two years of the project more than 440 homes were visited 300 cities participated and more than 100000 volunteers were involved of which 55000 were children. All the events were under the direction of the coordinator of the Helping Hands program in each region of the country. They received help from private companies and governmental entities and from the media besides getting help from the International Humanitarian Services of the Church. The Helping Hands project has been in action since 2001 and has involved thousands of social services agencies in all the country. This year there have been more than 150 projects in various cities. In April throughout the nation about 50000 volunteers refurbished and cleaned approximately 200 public schools. For more information see www.maosqueajudam.org.br.
Photo courtesy Brazil public affairsChildren from Sorocaba Brazil Trujillo Stake gather with kits and hand-painted cards prior to delivering materials to nursing homes in second year of this activity.

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