Members Participate in Service Project to Beautify Peru's Beaches

Contributed By By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 30 January 2014

Peruvian members work together to pull buried trash from a Lima beach as part of a massive Church-sponsored cleanup effort.  Photo courtesy of the South America North Area.

Article Highlights

  • Members in Peru gave 30,000 hours of service during a beach-cleaning project.
  • Peruvian government leaders thanked the volunteers for the service as well as for setting a good example for the community.
  • Members removed more than 30 tons of waste during the project.

Some visit Lima’s beaches to take in a few hours of surfing. Others enjoy the arid, sandy beaches for family retreats or for leisurely walks to escape the hubbub of the bustling capital city.

All such visitors will likely notice and appreciate the beaches’ pristine new look. Call it a “coastline facelift”—all made possible by the efforts of thousands of local Church members.

On December 14, 2013, Latter-day Saints in Peru completed a massive beach-cleaning project that was organized to bring beauty to Lima’s coastline and beaches in other areas of the South American nation. Members realized their goal to perform 30,000 hours of service as part of a well-organized Mormon Helping Hands project.

Their efforts earned them a wide variety of new friends, ranging from local government officials and environmental workers to everyday beach visitors who are enjoying the area’s new, well-scrubbed look.

Church leaders meticulously planned the beach-cleaning project for several months before the first group of members donned yellow Helping Hands vests on December 7 and began gathering up trash.

During Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s visit to Lima last July to organize Peru’s 100th stake, the Apostle spoke to local media agencies about the beach project and invited all Peruvians to join the effort.

Latter-day Saint organizers worked closely during the planning and execution of the service project with Peruvian municipal leaders and the private environmental organization Vida.

Men, women, and youth work together to clean a beach in Lima, Peru. Photo courtesy of the South America North Area.

The members were assigned dates and beach regions to assist with the project. Most of the 30,000 service hours were spent collecting and removing debris such as plastics, wood, textiles, glass, and a variety of other objects that damaged the appearance and health of the beach.

The first wave of volunteers arrived on the Costa Azul beach in the Callao neighborhood. Armies of fellow volunteers soon followed their lead, offering time and muscle on a variety of beachfronts. The work could be hard, but the patriotic members enjoyed their time working together to beautify a valued area of the country.

Government leaders offered thanks to the Church and its service-minded members. They noted that the project not only protects and improves the local environment but also provides a good example to the community at large. They hope the Helping Hands project will generate a sustainable interest in protecting the environment and serving others.

A Peruvian member bags trash gathered on a Lima beach. Photo courtesy of the South America North Area.

Local priesthood leaders, meanwhile, said the sole motivation of the service project was to serve their own communities “and leave the world a better place than how they found it.”

The beach improvement areas were not limited to the Lima area. Large-scale cleanup efforts were also completed on the beaches of La Punta Huanchaco and Pimentel, where Latter-day Saints removed more than 30 tons of waste.

Members in Peru performed more than 30,000 hours of service as part of a massive beach-cleaning project in Lima. Photo courtesy of the South America North Area.