During the last few months of 2016, we hosted four Family Service Events to continue our tradition of service through Family Service events. The events bring together Shinnyo-en practitioners, family, friends, and community members to learn about the needs of their communities and make donations for their local service organizations. In fact, the events are not limited to the families of the host Shinnyo-en temple but anyone with spirit of service is welcome to attend when invited by the Shinnyo-en members or the benefiting organizations.
On October 23rd, the Chicago temple held its second Family Service event of the year. It was a terrific success with approximately 75 people in attendance, one of the largest turn-outs they had had since it began there five years ago! Barb Matsukes and Georgette Frank attended as representatives for The Heart of a Marine Foundation, and Kristina Lowenstein and Karen Paluzzi Steele from The Honeycomb Project brought a button maker and cards to decorate, which were a great hit. As the Family Service events took place twice annually in the Chicago Temple community, the word had gotten around to other community organizations. This time, thanks to David Miller of Community Character Coalition (CCC) of Elk Grove, Venture Crew #293, Boy Scout Troop #95, Cub Scout Troop #293, and the Leo/Lions Club joined the event, along with the members of CCC of Elk Grove. All were excited to help serve, and we hope that everyone enjoyed the wonderful experience to give to those less fortunate.
The next weekend, the Los Angeles temple community held back-to-back Family Service events on October 29th and 30th. The first event was held at the Shinnyo-en Los Angeles Temple in Yorba Linda, CA with about 30 volunteers attending. Many of the community participants, as well as Shinnyo-en members, were looking forward to this event, including some regulars from Placentia Yorba Meals on Wheels and YMCA of Orange County! This time, several middle school students from YMCA of Orange County joined us and whipped through making school supply kits for their afterschool programs. After finishing their own projects at their stations, many of them branched out to help other community organizations as well. By the time a couple of hours passed, they not only finished all of the projects sufficiently, but also visited with most of the community and Shinnyo-en participants as they busied their hands. It was a nice warm day out, and many enjoyed eating their lunch outside on the patio after working hard on their projects.
The second event was held in Westlake Village, CA with a little smaller group than the previous event, but they worked just as hard and created beautiful gifts to donate to the participating organizations. Another regular participant of the Family Service Event in Westlake Village, Teresa Wolf from Our Community House of Hope, came to the event and helped volunteers stuff the “Hope” pillows that each of the clients at Our Community House of Hope receives during their stay at the House. Monica Vergara and her daughter also attended as representatives of Interface Children and Family Services and were able to tell volunteers about the people who would be receiving the hygiene kits being made. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, 10 different local organizations were supported in total, surely bringing smiles to hundreds of people’s faces.
At the last event of the year, four organizations were supported at our 3nd Annual Family Evening of Service in Nevada on December 9th. Many volunteers brought their small children to attend, introducing them to the importance of service and the kindness of giving at a young age.
We hope that all of you who attended the Family Service events could carry on the spirit of service and giving over the next year and beyond!