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Yellow vests to canvas Southern California

Approximately 20000 Church members wearing yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests will participate in service projects throughout Southern California on April 25 according to Kevin Hamilton of the Southern California Public Affairs Council.
We have approximately 91 stakes from Bakersfield to San Diego and the Mexican border Brother Hamilton said. I cant (pinpoint) a precise number but I believe 86 or 87 of those stakes have a service project planned (for April 25).
Mormon Helping Hands volunteers helped clean up after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The theme is Community Service making our communities a better place. (The volunteers) will be working under the direction or under the brand of Mormon Helping Hands. Theyll be wearing the yellow vests. We estimate there will be somewhere around 20000 participants area-wide.
Some of the planned projects include repairing schools renovating community parks cleaning up beaches volunteering at a cancer fund raiser generally beautifying the community and picking up trash at Joshua Tree National Park.
With the recent economic downturn local governments all across Southern California have been receptive to the prospects of receiving service from Mormon Helping Hands.
As weve approached community and government officials theyve been very very cooperative Brother Hamilton said. Theyre quite happy to see us get involved and very willing to provide projects for us.
The yellow Mormon Helping Hands T-shirts are used either in disaster relief or in community service. Above missionaries from the Houston Texas South Mission and Latter-day Saints clean up after Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Especially with the current economy we guessed correctly that local governments and municipalities would be cash-strapped and that they would be very happy for outsiders to come in and do things that would make the community more attractive more livable without having to spend municipal budgets for it.
Brother Hamilton gained exposure to the Mormon Helping Hands program while he served as president of the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands mission from 2003-06.
I was serving as a mission president in Europe and we did (Mormon Helping Hands) in western Europe very successfully he said. When I got home back to California in the summer of 2006 we were asked to inaugurate this in the California area so Ive kind of been working on that ever since.
He said they plan to do a service project every year.
jaskar@desnews.com

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