Hundreds of volunteers made the inaugural Interfaith Family Service Day on June 8 a success.
Organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Colorado Springs East Stake, the community-wide event put 365 volunteers of all faiths to work on 12 projects throughout Colorado Springs.
“We had a wonderful turnout from people of all faiths. Their efforts were seen in many areas and it was wonderful to see the camaraderie that occurs when people pull together to improve their community,” said Laurie Kearns, public affairs director for the Colorado Springs East Stake, in a news release. “We appreciated partnering with so many wonderful organizations for this amazing project and we hope that we can continue to work together in the future.”
Projects ranged from sewing blankets for babies in the St. Francis Hospital neonatal intensive care unit and mending dolls for foster children to picking up trash along Cottonwood Creek and making treats for zoo parakeets.
Deborah Coffey, who, with husband Greg, oversaw the day full of projects for the church, captured some of the reactions of the day.
“Mom, look! Wow, it’s a fork! Look what I found!” said Isaac Feickert, 4, who got into the treasure-hunting spirit while helping to clean up Cottonwood Creek trail. The Feickert family spent the morning picking up trash and debris along the trail.
“I hope this becomes an annual tradition for the community. We found three bags’ worth of garbage ... and plan to bring more bags and bigger bags next time ... and maybe a wagon for it all,” Fiona Feickert, Isaac’s mother said.
The volunteers gathered trash along seven miles of Cottonwood Creek and Homestead Trail. The city’s Waterways Resource Engineering department provided bags, gloves, and other equipment. Altogether they picked up about 200 bags of trash, including tarps and sheets of cardboard, a mud entrenched sleeping bag, a garden cart, and pallets, Coffey said.
Volunteers also cut down dead trees and cut back or removed overgrowth at Roundup Fellowship, a school for Autistic children. Another group raked yard waste at Cheyenne Village McLaughlin Lodge in Manitou Springs, a facility for adults with developmental disabilities.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your efforts ... to help Cheyenne Village for your Family Service Day,” said Robin Whitten, event and community relations coordinator of McLaughlin Lodge. “Individuals like you make our community a better place to live, and also help us fulfill our mission of helping people with disabilities lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Volunteers also cleaned and mended stuffed animals and dolls for the Doll Doctors with First Lutheran Church, to be given to foster and refugee families and the Santa program. Another 100 stuffed animals were donated to the church’s foster project. And more than 100 small stuffed animals were collected to support touch therapy for hospice patients for Pikes Peak Hospice.
Other volunteers sewed 52 blankets for NICU babies at St. Francis hospital for the Grace Blankets organization.
Young families made 2,000 Budgie Sticks for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo while others made about 150 cards for the Send a Smile Today organization for cancer patients.
Other participants donated cleaning supplies and toiletries for refugees with the Lutheran Family Services.
“We thought this was a great opportunity for our church to reach out into the community,” said Greg Coffey. The goal of the service day was to strengthen faith, family and the community, he said.