News Release

Helping Hands Volunteers Show Christchurch Love on Valentine’s Day

The overcast skies did not hinder the hearts of more than 250 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Christchurch Interfaith Society and the City Mission who spent their Valentine’s morning serving the community.

“We were so pleased with the turn out and the many organisations who participated in serving Christchurch,” said Jennifer Beck, Christchurch Public Affairs Director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and project organizer.

“Working in conjunction with Volunteer Canterbury, we were able to plan numerous projects throughout the community for organisations who truly needed assistance.”

One of the labours of love occurred when volunteers aided the Sumner Association in their project of planting native trees, mulching and weeding in Taylor’s Mistake. 

Two groups of 50 volunteers were assigned to remove and paint over graffiti at the Kiwi Rail Line in Sockburn where taggers had defaced more than 800 metres of railroad walls. 

“I had so much fun,” said Sharon Gardner from the Catholic Church who later expressed her hope to be included in future service projects.

A City Council member expressed his gratitude and amazement that the group was able to finish repainting the entire wall in only a couple of hours and in such a professional manner.

“Run, don’t walk” was the preferred approach of volunteers at the Avonside Early Childhood Centre where 20 square metres of bark was moved from the front of the centre to the playground area. 

The centre’s operations manager, Carol Gilles, was on site and afterwards shared the following with parents in her community: “Dear Parents and All, this morning we had some fantastic volunteers from the Church of Latter-day Saints organised by Volunteer Canterbury and Jennifer Beck from the Church. They wheel-barrowed 20 square metres of bark from the front of the centre to the playground area- a huge task! Wait 'til you see what they did and what your fundraising donations last year have allowed us to achieve - the playground looks really good. We now have a beautiful barked area under the tree, swing, climbing frame and around the sandpit, lots of spongy bark for the children to play on safely, thanks to the volunteers efforts.  You are angels!”

Other projects included:  Packe Street Park and Community Garden—planting, mulching, pruning and yard work in preparation for their centennial celebration;  St Vincent de Paul—sorting, stacking and organizing bins and general clean-up; Alzheimer’s Association—two rooms painted and power washing outside building; St Chad’s Anglican Church—painting outdoor pillars and pouring concrete pads for three new storage sheds. 

Valentine’s Day took on new meaning as volunteers from all walks of life and ranging in age from senior citizens to young children shared their hearts with the community and their love for their fellow neighbours. 

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