News Story

Mormon Helping Hands Serve Seniors After Toronto Floods

After record-breaking floods hit the Toronto area, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints realized many senior residents needed help to clear out basements. A team of volunteers composed of local members and missionaries of the Church was organized and set to work.

The previous single-day rainfall record for Toronto was in 1954 when Hurricane Hazel dumped 121 mm on the city. This time the city reported 126 mm, with 90 mm of rain within 90 minutes.

The rain caused blackouts, transit chaos, stalled and submerged cars and massive flooding. With two feet of raw sewage backed up in many basements, many senior citizens in the hard-hit Etobicoke area were left without resources to help them clear out their basements.

The Mormon Helping Hands team removed beds, couches and anything else retaining water inside those hardly breathable homes. Then they cut out carpet and underlay and dragged everything to the curb.

Comments from some of those volunteers speak for themselves. One of the initiators of this cleaning effort said, “It’s been a blessing to be part of the relief effort for these people. Most of all, it gave them hope. They were so overwhelmed and distraught. Having someone care about them brought comfort and relief.’’

Local member Abram Lospe declared, “It was a great pleasure being able to help those in need and being able to provide them hope. … Witnessing all of us work as a team was an uplifting and rewarding feeling.”  

Kristi Olsen, who helped man the make-shift command centre in one of the hardest hit areas, said, ‘’People are amazed at the ‘gift ’ and they were so very appreciative. Many residents were happier for the seniors getting this help than for themselves.”

One gentleman, with tears in his eyes, said he wanted to thank those who came to help. He was able to do some of his own work with his wife and daughter but was worried for others. He said, “What they have done for my neighbour is incredible.” He also commented on what nice young people they were.

Mormon missionaries serving in the area were happy to don Mormon Helping Hands vests and help the local area citizens. Elder Tyler Fielding said, “The hearts that were softened that day made every minute worth it.” Elder Clay Gibb shared his feelings: “It was amazing to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help ease these people’s burdens, as we did as Christ would do.”

The teams worked all day to help other people in the area, mostly seniors who had not yet received any professional help.

The Mormon Helping Hands, in their trademark yellow vests, is a worldwide program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that brings together members of the Church and their neighbours to provide community service.

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