LDS church plans annual Community Day of Service for Oct. 15 in Las Vegas

There are no prayers, no preaching or questions about faith. The October Community Day of Service may be coordinated through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the focus is entirely on doing something for others. And the entire community is invited to participate.

The fifth annual event is planned from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 15 at the church at 2555 N. Jones Blvd., at the ball fields next to Brinley Middle School. Lunch is planned after the event for all participants.

The main purpose is to make blankets to hand out to homeless students. The need in Las Vegas is great.

“We helped 14,000 homeless students last year, a 30 percent increase from the year before,” said Kelly-Jo Shebeck, coordinator for the Title 1 Hope Program, a federally affiliated program that distributes the blankets.

She said the influx of blankets from past years’ Day of Service efforts were a big boost, especially getting such a large donation at one time.

“And I love that it’s a community effort,” Shebeck said. “People say the recession is over, but some of these people have been living off their savings, and now they’ve spent it all. They’re looking for someone to help them.”

One does not need to know how to operate a sewing machine to participate. If you can make a knot, you can help, said Kenneth Rezendesc, public affairs director at the stake and co-chairman of the event.

The blankets are simple to make and use 2 yards of fleece. Last year’s event saw 1,000 made. This year, the hope is to surpass that .

Each year, the event can see anywhere from 300 to 600 attendees. Of that number, Rezendes estimated that 25 to 33 percent were non-LDS church members.

“This is about giving back and serving the community, working with the community beyond our walls,” he said. “A blanket can literally make the difference for these kids. It says that someone cares.”

Other service projects organized by the LDS church an be found at justserve.org.

The October Community Day of Service also includes a blood drive. United Blood Services will be on hand to accept donations. For an appointment, visit unitedbloodservices.org. Walks-ins are welcome.

For elementary-age attendees, expect a pennies-by-the-inch carnival area with face painting, bounce houses, games and a ball toss.

To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email jhogan@viewnews.com or call 702-387-2949.

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