News Story

Oshawa Latter-day Saints Build Relationships With Habitat for Humanity

Church volunteers donate time and work boots to benefit Habitat for Humanity

Recently, volunteers from the Oshawa Ontario Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a Habitat build day with Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area (GTA) at their Oshawa site, where 50 townhomes are under construction. In addition to arranging for volunteers to help on the build day, the Church donated new work boots.

Keri-Ellen Walcer, the Oshawa Ontario Stake JustServe specialist, and Janine Smith and Francine Negre Laroche, both of Habitat for Humanity GTA, began the arrangement of a Habitat build day using Church volunteers. When Walcer asked Smith how else the Church could help, Smith immediately thought of safety boots, which are required personal protective equipment on the build site.

Smith said, “Unfortunately, some volunteers do not have the means to purchase a pair of their own safety boots, and this can be a barrier for them to come out and build with us. Not only did [members of] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come out and swing a hammer to build homes for lower income families in the community, but through the donation of 65 pairs of safety boots, they gave others the opportunity to have that volunteer experience. … [The donated] safety boots will be kept on site for volunteers to borrow for their build day.”

The boots were delivered on November 12, 2021, at the start of the build day in which Church members volunteered their time.

Carolyn Johnston, one of the Church volunteers, mentioned, “I was a little nervous before I arrived, but it was a great experience. The people we worked with were so friendly, helpful and appreciative. The Church made a donation of new work boots, [because] every volunteer has to wear them, and many people don’t have their own. And believe me, after trying on a couple of pairs of the existing ones, these new work boots were badly needed.”

Volunteer service is an important part of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A scripture verse found in the Book of Mormon emphasizes its importance: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). As we help others in the community, lives are improved, new friendships are made, and we are unified through serving others.

Smith expressed additional gratitude for the Church’s help when she said, “Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area was so appreciative of the opportunity to promote our volunteer opportunities on the JustServe website.” The Church-developed JustServe website matches volunteers with community needs.

Habitat for Humanity housing projects help to make moving into a decent home a possibility for working, lower income families through the joint efforts of volunteers, hired contractors and successful homeownership applicants.

Walcer said, “I am amazed at the incredible work Habitat for Humanity does in our communities. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Janine Smith and Francine Negre Laroche and to be able to offer the gift of new boots to this wonderful build site on behalf of the Church. We are blessed to have so many generous donations of time, talents and finances from members of the Church, which made this project possible.”

Following the example of these Oshawa Latter-day Saints, we encourage all to find ways to volunteer locally.

The U.N. General Assembly has mandated that International Volunteer Day (IVD) be observed annually on December 5. IVD “is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector” (

Check for JustServe volunteer opportunities in your area.

Contributed by Lisa Whitsitt, Oshawa Ontario Stake Communication Director

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.