The local JustServe community project clearinghouse administered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints wants folks in the Chugiak-Eagle River area know that religious affiliation is irreverent when it comes to posting needs on its web-based presence that matches needs with people in the community willing to provide.
“Anyone can submit a service request as long as it is not a fundraising effort or not a for-profit request,” Joelyn Betz, the director of public affairs for the LDS church in Eagle River, said. Betz also is the administrator of the local JustServe program. “There is no missionary work tied to the program. This is a way for people to find service opportunities and for people to get their needs met.”
Betz said JustServe seeks to cross cultural, political and religious barriers in an effort to meet needs within the community.
Current local projects underway include providing yarn to inmates at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility for their service projects making toys and clothing for children and several neighborhood cleanup events to pick up trash on streets and public access areas.
Spring 2017 marks the third year that JustServe has been coordinated in the local area. The program began nationally in California and Texas as a pilot program from the LDS church. It spread quickly throughout the rest of the United States. Just a few months ago, the program celebrated being available in all of North and South America, Betz said.
Approximately 500 local residents are registered with the site to volunteer for JustServe projects. Volunteers need not be members of the LDS church, Betz said. The only requirement is a willingness to serve others, she explained.
JustServe currently has an ongoing project to support the Food Bank of Alaska’s efforts to distribute day-old food at no charge to local residents on Saturdays in the parking lot of the Eagle River Presbyterian Church at 12836 Old Glenn Highway in Eagle River. JustServe also seeks volunteers to work at the Chugiak-Eagle River Food Pantry housed at the same location.
Users of the JustServe program can register a project online at www.justserve.org. The website allows users to search for projects by zip code.