On Saturday, November 3, the sixth edition of the International Day of Service 'Hands and Hearts' was held, in which a total of 5,269 volunteers in the Dominican Republic and other countries of the Caribbean region donated a total of 31,614 hours of service in various projects, benefitting the lives of more than 55,000 people.
This day of service kicked-off various additional activities commemorating the 40th anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Dominican Republic. One hundred service projects were performed throughout the entirety of the country, with government institutions, mayors, non-governmental entities, leaders and friends of the Church.
A total of 204 square kilometers were cleaned or rejuvenated on streets, avenues, roads, parks, schools and other public centers, collecting a total of 3,874 garbage bags of 55 gallons each.
In addition, 6,687 units of various medications were distributed in six medical operations in different cities of the country, directly benefiting 1,658 people.
'We are extremely pleased with the integration of members of the Church with our friends in the different communities of the country and the entire Caribbean region. What has happened on the International Day of Service this year is a sign of the good that can be accomplished when we unite with the purpose of doing good for our neighbors, as Jesus taught’’, said Elder Julio Cesar Acosta of the Seventy, a regional leader of the Church.
Other humanitarian services were completed in Puerto Rico, where dozens of volunteers helped distribute 1,400 boxes of water to the community of Lares, Mayagüez, in coordination with officials of the local mayor's office. In addition, about 200 lunches were distributed to the elderly and to needy people in the streets of Caguas.
In Haiti, police departments were cleaned by volunteers. 'The officers in the police departments showed the happiness on their faces and deeply appreciated the gesture of the members of the Church to perform this altruistic work,' said Berthony Theodor, president of the Church’s stake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Jamaica also left its mark on this International Day. 'The service and sacrifice of the volunteers at the Red Cross School of Youth Transformation in Kingston, Jamaica, strengthened our testimony of the importance of serving others,' said Raia Richards, National Director of Public Affairs in Jamaica.
Everywhere, the smile of children, youth and adults was seen while they served with dedication. Whether in streets or in care centers for the elderly, the slogan was the same: to have hands and hearts intertwined in service to others with love and diligence.
A girl clean at a cemetery of Dominican Republic
Playing dominoes with the elderly at a Geriatric Center in Puerto Rico
Planting trees at one of the service projects
Volunteers donated blood and medicine was distributed in different locations in various countries of the Caribbean