JustServe projects throughout Puerto Rico on International Day of Service
Using JustServe — a website and app where nonprofits list service projects and volunteer needs — missionaries, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and their friends served in their communities on World Day of Service.
it was there:
- 31 service projects
- 36 wards and branches are participating
- 16 JustServe agencies involved
- Over 350 participating members and friends
- 113 missionaries participated
Projects included service in nursing homes, schools, food banks, soup kitchens, beach and community cleanups, gardening, sewing, painting, yard work, and blood donation.
Alanis Olmo Jimenez of Levittown Ward, Toa Baja Puerto Rico Stake, was grateful to participate in two service projects.
“The opportunity to serve, when done willingly and intentionally, can change our perspective on life and contribute to our advancement as disciples of Christ,” she said.
She said she makes time in her life to serve frequently.
“The JustServe initiative is growing in Puerto Rico, and last October 28 is proof of that. “The opportunity to serve through local organizations and with nature has allowed me to feel more connected to my island and the unique needs of living there,” she said.
Ruth Colón, a social worker at Albergue El Paraíso in San Juan, was grateful for the donations of food, clothing, linens and hygiene products and the time volunteers spent with people at the shelter.
“We had many beautiful moments on the World Day of Service. The participants behaved in a spiritual way,” she said. “May the Lord continue to guide us to continue supporting those in need of recovery to improve their quality of life.”
Missionaries from the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission were involved in multiple projects throughout the island.
Elder Ethan Collinwood participated in a project with his companion Elder Sander Guardado.
“Being able to serve on the 28th was an amazing opportunity, knowing that I was serving with a much greater force than just the one beside me, and knowing that I was actually helping real people around me,” he said. “In my missionary service thus far, I have been very fortunate to be able to serve people and see the changes a small service can make in their lives.”
Sister Gaby Wardle and Sister Emma Jones wrote:
“We have loved being with people and helping them here in Ponce! It has been amazing to be united with others who serve like Christ. Service brings so much joy and happiness to those who receive and give it.
Sister Lillian Koch participated in a reforestation project with the group Para La Naturaleza (For Nature) and planted new trees in Ibonito to replace plants destroyed by hurricanes.
“It’s always fun to be outside in nature, admiring God’s creations,” Sister Koch said. “As we planted trees, nurtured seeds, and learned about Puerto Rico’s natural climate and vegetation, I gained a better awareness of the privilege we have of being stewards of the land.”
Her companion, Sister Mia Harbach, wrote of the project: “It has been a great honor to be apart of something so special to the island, and I am so grateful for the volunteers who work for this organization and for their kindness.”
JustServe in Puerto Rico
Elder Wilford Taylor and Sister Charla Taylor of Mesa, Arizona, began serving in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission in September 2022 with the call to start a JustServe initiative on the island.
They work alongside members and missionaries on service projects. They also visit organizations, agencies and churches to tell them about the service platform and help them register.
When planning began for this year’s World Day of Service, every wing and branch on the island was invited to have a service project on that day. The Taylors knew JustServe could be a part of it — and it was a huge success, they said.
Agencies that were not using JustServe regularly before the service day now have experience using it and have seen the fruits, Sister Taylor said.
“Everyone is really embracing this great program,” she said.
Each ward in Puerto Rico now has a JustServe specialist, who helped the wards choose agencies to help with the day of service, Elder Taylor said.
“We appreciate the special effort of stake presidents and section and branch leaders to help make this a great day of service,” he said.
Elder Taylor said it was a life-changing experience to meet organizations in Puerto Rico that are carrying out their mission to love and serve others in their community.
“JustServe is about bringing people together to love and serve one another as Jesus did in his mission on earth,” he said.
See more photos below from World Day of Service in Puerto Rico.