The following is excerpted from the Church Newsroom. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

Floods in California

“I’ve seen so many smiles even though it’s such a sad thing that happened,” Elder Matthew N. Jones, a young missionary in the California San Jose Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said as he helped muck out flooded basements in Felton, a small community in Northern California.

Relief efforts of the Church have begun in California following several weeks of torrential rains that left areas of Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco with major flooding. Several truckloads of food have been sent from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah. Local church members and missionaries are volunteering to organize and distribute items and clean up damaged property.

The floods have caused roughly $1 billion in property damage across the state. Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco were hit the hardest, with mountainous areas receiving over 30 inches of rain between December 26 and January 15. More than 20 million Californians faced flood alerts, and a few dozen lives were lost.

Anticipating the needs of their communities, missionaries from the California San Jose Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ filled sandbags, staged sandbags around homes, helped move furniture to the second story of several residences and prepared two evacuation centers in Santa Cruz County.

With rain subsiding, missionaries are aiding in flood and mudslide cleanup. They are partnering with the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County and have completed nearly 900 hours of service. Volunteers from AmeriCorps and the Red Cross joined the missionaries in mucking out 20 private homes in Felton Grove and Paradise Park last weekend.

“My basement flooded over six feet,” said Erika Isa Sharps of Felton. “It’s been such a blessing to see so many folks from the Latter-day Saints come in. … They showed up and took just a few minutes to clear up people’s basements and make such a big impact. I’m really grateful. … It’s a thing that everyone here will always remember.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE