LDS, volunteers embrace Day of Service

Local cities' wishes will be answered Saturday when about 3,000 volunteers tackle projects as part of the Day of Service.

The anticipated large number of volunteers has allowed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to add more projects. About 30 will be finished in the Tri-Cities on Saturday.

The event began last year in Washington, Oregon and Idaho to honor and remember those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and who lost their lives in the service of the country, said Lowell Barber, regional public relations director for the LDS church.

Last year, about 2,000 people participated in the Tri-City area.

"It's a great way to build a feeling of unity among all of our friends in the community," he said.

The church, with about 20,000 members in the Tri-Cities, invites the public to help.

"We will put them to work," said Richard Meyer, president of the Kennewick Stake, which also includes churches in parts of Richland, West Richland, Prosser, Grandview and Benton City. "There is plenty to do."

Meyer said the Kennewick congregations added several projects because they have had more volunteers than expected. The additions include completing fencing for the Richland dog park. About 150 volunteers will work on the project.

One of the big projects in Kennewick is roofing work and concrete removal at Lawrence Scott Park, said Greg Duffy, city of Kennewick's supervisor of parks and facilities.

Tom Mackay, president of the Kennewick East stake, which includes Kennewick east of Edison Street and Finley, said volunteers from his churches will continue to clean up brush along the Audubon Trail in Columbia Park with the goal of getting closer to Edison Street. That project, which creates more space on the trail, is continued from last year.

Mackay said stakes asked cities which projects they would like to have volunteers complete.

Having volunteers complete these projects helps the city stretch its resources because city staff can work on other projects, Duffy said.

And in some cases, he said, projects wouldn't get done without volunteers.

Not all the projects were requested by cities. Seniors who use Tri-City Meals on Wheels were able to request home repair and yard work assistance through a form, Meyer said.

Some church members who volunteer with Meals on Wheels were doing work around homes for seniors on their routes and suggested the Day of Service would be a good time to do that work on a greater scale, he said.

Meyer said they continue to collect requests, which range from minor home repair and yard work to fixing an electric typewriter.

Although most of projects will occur on Saturday, the Park at the Lakes project on Bombing Range Road in West Richland began last weekend, Lowell Barber said. Volunteers are helping complete a contoured stream bed, will distribute gravel and large rocks, and plant about 1,500 plants.

The churches also have collected furniture and clothes for families in need. Those free items will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the LDS church at 895 Gage Blvd., in Richland.

Barber also said some contractors donate services or offer them at wholesale costs.

And while the city of Kennewick will provide much of the material for its projects, Duffy said some will be supplemented by volunteers, such as rollers and paintbrushes.

Most projects will be finished by noon or 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Want to help?

-- Kennewick: 9 a.m., Lawrence Scott Park, reroof and paint pavilions, remove cement. Call Richard Meyer at 783-6480. At 8 a.m. paint Columbia Park cabin near Edison Street, clear brush and trim trees on Audubon Trail, install mow strip perimeter around basketball court at Jay Perry Park, clean up, remove debris along Columbia River shoreline, paint Grange Hall on Union Street, repaint dormer window structures at city pool, replace windows at senior center. Call Tom Mackay at 734-1195.

-- Pasco: 8 a.m., volunteers of all ages meet at Little League fields along 18th and A Street to clean up shoreline and baseball fields, paint classrooms and gym at Martin Luther King Center. Call Bill Henry at 528-2808.

-- Richland: From 9 a.m. to noon, clothing and household item giveaway at LDS church at 895 Gage Blvd.; clear brush and create walking paths at Claybell Park. Call Richard Meyer at 783-6480.

-- West Richland: 8 a.m. Park at the Lakes on Bombing Range Road. Park north of sports complex. Call Keith Christensen at 948-6446.

-- Mesa: 8:30 a.m. meet at potato sheds across from Memorial Rose Garden to help with landscaping, yard work, painting. Call Dee Burrie at 948-1398.

w Around the Tri-Cities: home repair and yard work for seniors. Call Richard Meyer at 783-6480.