Helping others is synonymous with the holiday season. In that tradition, one local church is opening its doors to those in need with its second annual Donation Swap Day of Service.
“Every year, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide participates in a day of service,” said local oncologist Dr. David Squires. “We are invited by the prophet and president of the church to work with other community groups and organizations in rendering service to the poor and needy.”
Last year, the local churches of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized a blood donation and swap day of service. Because it was such a huge success, the congregations have decided to do so again this year.
“At this time of year, there is a great need for clean, usable clothes, toys and household items by many people in the community and there are many people who would like to donate these things,” said Squires, also a bishop of one of the local congregations participating in the day of service.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 835 N. Belair Road will accept donated items Friday and Thursday from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday morning.
The doors of the church will open at noon to anyone who wishes to come by and pick up any items they can use.
“We invite everyone to the event,” Squires said. “Everything donated will be free. These items will help those in great need and also those who are just looking to save money on presents.”
Nearly 150 people were assisted through the event last year and organizers hope to double that number this year.
“In this Christmas season, it unites our community and helps direct our focus on caring for one another,” Squires said.
Individuals looking for specific items can notify church officials by e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, individuals who have items to donate but aren’t able to drop them off can e-mail organizers to arrange pickup.
“We will also accept items donated by local businesses,” said Squires, noting that after 4 p.m. Saturday the doors will close and any remaining items will either be donated to local shelters or to Goodwill.
In addition, the Shepeard Community Blood Center’s bloodmobile will be on site from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday. Last year, 21 units of blood were collected. This year’s goal is to collect 55 units.
“As a local cancer doctor, I recognize how important blood donations are to my patients,” Squires said. “I encourage everyone who is able to take time to come and donate to do so.”
Steve and Debbie Lines and Ian and Jenny Davis are directors of this year’s Donation Swap Day of Service, while Shepeard Blood Center’s Greg Bearden is overseeing the blood drive.