Despite COVID-19 restrictions and while following state and local guidelines, congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout eastern Montana volunteered their time on September 12, to give service to their local communities in the Glendive Stake’s 2nd Annual Day of Service.
Locally, 27 youth and adults spent several hours on a Saturday morning working in small groups to clean up the intersection of Highway 201 and 16 near the County Landfill.
The project began after a discussion by local church leaders of projects that could be done outdoors in order to follow local pandemic guidelines.
Ty Graves, church member and a county employee, knew that the area along the highway outside of the landfill has always been a problem to keep clean.
“The public works crew cleans it every spring but because of the trash that gets blown out of vehicles going to the dump it’s always a continual problem,” Graves explained.
After talking with Ty, the county gave its support for the project to move forward.
Joseph Knapp, Bishop of the Sidney congregation, explained: “We try to make this day an annual event and invite others from different faiths, backgrounds, clubs, and organizations to join us. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions and concerns we felt it wise this year to scale back the scope and break up into smaller socially distant groups.”
The volunteers divided into groups of five to six, each with a team leader, and spread out to the north, south, east and west areas of the intersection near the landfill. The church donated the garbage bags and local members provided a support vehicle along with a dump trailer from Triple B Roustabout that picked up the bags of trash as they were filled. By the end of the project, the trailer was entirely filled.
“As Christians, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints take very seriously the Lord’s admonition to be doers of the word and not hearers only. We are taught to love our homeland, to be loyal to the soil on which we live and to take care of it, and give back to the earth and the community because they are gifts from God. Each human being is a child of God and we are under commandment to love one another and serve one another,” Knapp commented about the purpose of the annual event.
Other projects happening that day were Billion Graves registration in Broadus; cleaning up and beautifying the Barry Street underpass in Glendive, yard work, moving, removing debris; and raking at Nemont Manor, the County Library, and various senior citizens homes in Glasgow.
2019’s Day of Service in Sidney took place on a cold day in October, where volunteers and church members cleaned and weeded the raised beds at the community gardens, and cleared up branches from several local parks.