The program provides priesthood leaders with an optional service opportunity for Church members and helps establish the name and reputation of the Church. It is a proven means of helping dispel stereotypes often held about the Church, showing that Latter-day Saints are Christians who contribute to the good of their communities.
Helping Hands volunteers clear downed trees after Hurricane Katrina
The “Helping Hands” designation helps identify the Church’s role in the activity: to provide service laborers and usually not goods or materials. Successful projects have been conducted throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific, and the United States. Coordination, implementation, and evaluation of these projects is usually delegated to local Public Affairs councils.
Objectives for Helping Hands
Helping Hands Help the Needy and Improve Communities
Service to others is an important characteristic of the followers of Jesus Christ. Helping Hands provides organized opportunities for Church members to give their time and talents to bless those in need. It also gives members the opportunity to beautify city streets, parks, schools, and recreational areas and to serve in other ways, showing that the Church is a friend to the community.
Strengthen Church Members
Through Helping Hands, youth and adults become more sensitive to the challenges others face. As Church members follow the example of the Savior in reaching out and helping others, their testimonies are strengthened. These projects are also valuable opportunities for Church members to fellowship less-active friends.
Share the Gospel Indirectly
Through Helping Hands, Church members have opportunities to portray the fruits of their faith and dispel unfounded criticism and prejudice toward the Church. While this program is not to be used for proselyting, these activities can help create conditions that are favorable for gospel conversations and may on occasion provide the opportunity to engage missionaries in teaching those who want to know more.
Build Relationships with Opinion Leaders
Church Public Affairs exists to “build strategic relationships with opinion leaders who affect the reputation of the Church of Jesus Christ.” Service is a powerful tool for influencing the beliefs and opinions of prominent individuals. Helping Hands is especially effective in developing beneficial relationships between Church leaders and government officials or other opinion leaders.
Enhance the Reputation of the Church
Helping Hands helps bring the Church out of obscurity and can greatly improve its reputation. Local media interest in these projects helps spread the knowledge of the Church to many who would not otherwise hear of it.