News Story

Hand in Hand — Women Continue Decades Old Tradition of Community Service

For 16 years, women of all ages, both members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Winnipeg, Manitoba, have joined hands to perform service in a Hands of Love event, addressing needs within the local and global communities. Whether making quilts to ship across the world to disadvantaged families or down the road to local domestic violence centres, these determined and dedicated women donate hundreds of hours.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency could have been characterizing the Hands of Love event when he expressed this thought at a recent Church general conference: “It seems to me that we receive the Holy Spirit best when we are focused on serving others. When we are engaged in service to others, we think less about ourselves, and the Holy Ghost can more readily come to us and help us in our lifelong quest to have the gift of charity bestowed upon us” (“Inspired Ministering,” Apr. 2018 general conference).

Photos by Miriam Soriano

Over the years, the Hands of Love projects and destinations have varied: school bags and hygiene kits were shipped to African countries; baby bundles, including caps and booties, were lovingly crafted for hospitalized infants or disadvantaged new mothers; baby blankets were made to lovingly wrap sick or stillborn babies; courage capes and special wands were made for children experiencing the trauma of abuse; and Christmas cards with personalized notes for widows and widowers were hand-made.

Maggi Hadfield, the long-time Hands of Love co-ordinator, expressed, “There is such a wonderful feeling of unity and sisterhood as we all work together to do something to alleviate the pain and suffering of our sisters whom we do not know. We do know that we are following the admonition of our Saviour, to lift the hands of the weary and show love to those in need.”

Past projects have also included the renewal of community spaces, such as painting the walls and murals in a daycare centre as well as providing needed books, games and toys.

Approximately 200 women participated in the 2018 annual Hands of Love service day; however, service efforts continue year-round with many projects starting immediately following the annual event. These ongoing projects include both group and individual efforts. Grateful recipients include orphanages, shelters, daycares, hospitals and individuals in need.

The Hands of Love event is so well recognized and far-reaching that local businesses have willingly and generously supported the efforts through donations of needed supplies or money.

President Russell M. Nelson teaches: “A hallmark of the Lord’s true and living Church will always be an organized, directed effort to minister to individual children of God and their families. Because it is His Church, we as His servants will minister to the one, just as He did. We will minister in His name, with His power and authority, and with His loving-kindness” (“Ministering with the Power and Authority of God,” Apr. 2018 general conference).

Throughout 16 years of Hands of Love events, thousands of hands have come together to minister to those in need, doing exactly what President Nelson described — the experienced hands of the crafter; the inexperienced but willing hands of the faithful; the unsteady, arthritic hands of the aged; and the nimble hands of youth. Each of these loving hands is outstretched to pull up the unseen hands that hang down, to strengthen the unseen hands that are weary and to reach out to unseen hands with Christlike love.

Contributed by Christine Baronins

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