Two boys stare up, beaming out of a small photo in a gold locket. A picture of a newborn – the baby’s tag reads “born March 2011”. An old black and white photo of a couple that seems to be set in the 50’s. Photos of people she doesn’t know surround Brooke Porter, of Oklahoma, at home, and she is determined to find them.
Latter-day Saints Always Willing to Lend a Helping Hand
Brooke Porter volunteered in the Oklahoma tornado clean up with Mormn Helping Hands, the official community service program with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the Mormon Church).
In her characteristic yellow Helping Hands vest, Brooke joined fellow Church members in the clean up after the E-5 tornado in Oklahoma. Digging through the debris, Brooke began to notice some personal items left behind, mostly pictures. She volunteered herself to take home the hundreds of photographs she salvaged. She has started a Facebook page and is manually scanning and photographing the personal items and pictures and uploading them to be claimed online.
Oklahoma’s News on 6 reports (with video) on Brooke’s efforts:
“I was just overcome with emotion and I saw this piece of paper face down and I thought, ‘Oh, please be a picture,’ and I flipped it over and it was two young boys with their dog, and I thought, ‘Their mom wants this picture,'” Porter said.
She wondered how many more moms and dads and grandparents wanted their pictures back, too.
“Nobody had really thought about the returning of the pictures and I said, ‘Can I? Can I volunteer myself? I would love to take these pictures home,'” Porter said.
She said she has the time and equipment to scan all 300 photos and she’ll post them on Facebook to reach families.
“I’m expecting our first child and I thought, if I lost those pictures of our baby, I would just be devastated,” Porter said.
In The Church of Jesus Christ we are taught to do many good things of our own volition and always look for ways to serve and help others.
In the Doctrine and Covenants (a companion scripture to the Bible of modern day revelations about Jesus Christ) Section 58:27 it says:
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
And Brooke Porter is definitely displaying that in her efforts to help those victims around her affected in such a personal way by a natural disaster. When Brooke began this process she had just moved to Oklahoma and didn’t know a lot of people – that is why she went online to reach out.
Mormon Helping Hands – Always Ready to Serve
Though Members of The Church of Jesus Christ provide community service on their own every day, the Helping Hands program also assembles in response to community needs or natural disasters. Mormon Helping Hands was a big part of the Hurricane Sandy clean up as well as major volunteers after the Tsunami in Asia – just two examples.
Mormonnewsroom.org details Mormon Helping Hands,
These volunteers in their trademark yellow shirts help people whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. Mormon Helping Hands volunteers also partner with government and nonprofit organizations to support and improve the communities where they live.
The Helping Hands program reflects the desire of Mormons to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving others. The effort receives resources from Church humanitarian services, and the projects are coordinated by local Church leaders.
The Mormon Helping Hands program was established in 1998, and since then hundreds of thousands of volunteers have donated millions of hours of service to their communities. The program started in South America but has since spread to nearly every corner of the world.
Volunteer Charles Adebayo of Nigeria summed up the feelings of many who participate in the Mormon Helping Hands program: “We find real happiness when we think outside of ourselves. That is true joy,” he said.
Mormons Emulate the Love of the Savior by Helping Others
Brooke Porter definitely understands the importance of following Jesus Christ. She said about her hopes for the victims of the tornado, “I hope that they just have a little bit of home, that they can experience a little bit of joy, a tender mercy. I think that there are miracles all over the place if we just look for them.”
Livi Whitaker is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - a "Mormon" woman in Idaho. She has worked in various professional Communications based positions in New York, Italy and Idaho since her first day at the United Nations on Jan 2nd, 2007. Livi now devotes her full attention to free lance writing. An avid writer since childhood, Livi has kept a journal as long as she can remember - yet some of the most fulfilling writing she has done is for the More Good Foundation, sharing her beliefs online.