“Members in California Serve during Celebration,” Ensign, Dec. 1996, 67–68
During the summer, Church members in California planned and participated in numerous service projects to celebrate the July 1846 arrival of Church members in San Francisco on the ship Brooklyn. Following are brief summaries of several of those projects.
Anaheim California East Stake
Members combined forces to clean up graffiti, paint fire hydrants, weed grounds around local schools, clean schoolrooms, renovate playground structures at a community park, and gather trash on a riverside trail used by walkers, joggers, skaters, and bikers.
“We come to the close of our service day sunburned and fatigued and grateful we could do some good in our neighborhoods,” said stake president Robert E. Greene at a picnic following the day’s work. “The fellowship of laughter and labor has bonded members and friends and will have its own great impact in our community.”
Canoga Park California Stake
Approximately 350 members from this stake contributed 1,480 hours at the local United Cerebral Palsy/Spastic Children’s Foundation on 27 July. Throughout the day members landscaped the grounds of the facility, repaired and installed sprinkler systems, weeded and cleared the grounds, and planted foliage.
That evening, members gathered at a meetinghouse for a dinner and additional activities celebrating the arrival of the pioneers a century and a half earlier.
Huntington Beach California North Stake
In Huntington Beach, Church members met for a pancake breakfast (attended by the city’s mayor, three city council members, and the director of public works) before spreading throughout the community to work.
More than 560 members pulled up non-native plants in the Chica Wetlands, painted a farmhouse at the Westminster Historical Society, waxed and polished two antique fire engines, and filled boxes at the community food bank. They also picked up trash and refurbished benches and tables at several parks, made quilts for the homeless, and washed wheelchairs at a convalescent home.
San Jose California Stake
Members participated in two service projects. The first, which began as a multistake service project at the San Jose Historical Museum, eventually became part of a community-wide project involving some 1,500 Latter-day Saint families. Those involved cleaned areas around expressways, fed the homeless, and worked in an orchard on the grounds of the museum.
Stake members also rehearsed and performed a musical, Because of Elizabeth, in commemoration of the sesquicentennial. In addition to public performances, the cast also performed at a convalescent hospital and at the Los Gatos Sacred Heart Jesuit Center for retired Catholic priests.
Santa Maria California Stake
Members spread throughout three communities, repainting parking lines and curbs, raking leaves, and collecting debris on the campus of a local college; planting trees at a cemetery; installing an exercise course at a junior high school; building a fence and installing mileage markers at local parks; and cleaning up a museum.
Upland California Stake
Members focused their service efforts along Foothill Boulevard, a route in their stake boundaries that was carved out by San Bernardino Mormon pioneers delivering lumber to Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Members refurbished a playground, spread new sand, painted a fence and benches, and worked on landscaping at Memorial Park. In addition, some 350 bags of trash and debris were picked up, and volunteers also worked at a public library cleaning and reshelving books and preparing library materials.
Ventura California Stake
In Ventura, members participated in six different projects, including cleaning, repairing, and painting facilities at a “park-and-ride” lot; landscaping and installing a sprinkler system at a high school; working on several other projects at a high school; laying riverbed rock along the edge of walkways and under a bridge in a beach area; cleaning up and weeding public grounds; and painting facilities at a local park.