On a beautiful, crisp November Saturday morning just over 100 youth from the Boulder Colorado Stake gathered at an LDS Church in Broomfield at 9:00 am. They broke into ten groups and went out to assigned neighborhoods around the church. Wearing bright yellow vests identifying them as Mormon Helping Hands from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they went door to door asking if they could rake leaves and collect nonperishable food for a local food bank. The groups competed for small prizes for the most bags of leaves and largest number of food items.

Dozens of front yards were raked. Some groups joined homeowners already out tackling the ever falling leaves in their yards. One group raked leaves and cleaned up several rolls of TP hanging from the trees of a home that had been targets by teenagers the night before. The raking and bagging was intermixed with falling in leave piles, petting dogs and posing for pictures. In all the kids raked and bagged 442 bags of leaves, collected 706 food items and received $210 in cash donations for FISH.

Boulder Teens rake leaves for neighbors in an annual service project.

Boulder Teens rake leaves for neighbors in an annual service project.

One group was close to finishing up for the day when a man drove up and asked them if they would clean up the leaves at a home down the street that belongs to an elderly woman who lived alone. Of course they said yes, and headed down the street to the given address. They found a small yard with four oak trees in the front and four more in the back, and so many leaves on the ground that you could not see the grass underneath. The kids went right to work. About ten minutes after they started a darling 94 year old woman came out of the house using a walker. She stood and watched the kids and cried. Then she went into her garage and got gloves, brooms and dust pans for the girls trying to “rake” the leaves from her driveway.

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The woman was from Lithuania and had lived in the home for over 45 years. Her husband passed away ten years ago and she lives alone. Her last name meant oak tree in her native language and the couple had four sons. So they planted four oak trees in the front and four in the back. Her boys live far away and the boy who usually helps with the yard had not come for a few weeks. We left 18 large black bags of leaves by the curb. Another man from the neighborhood drove up and told us he would make sure the bags got taken to the leaf drop off site in Broomfield. Below is a Thank You from the Food Bank where the cans were delivered.

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Everyone headed back to the church at about noon for bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and homemade cookies. There were a lot of bacon and bread sandwiches eaten that day! The weather was perfect and lunch was served outside on the church’s front lawn. Prizes were awarded to the top three producing groups. Everyone had a great time. One suggestion from the teenagers – start an hour later next year!

 


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