"'Helping hands' is more than a slogan—it's a reality," said Barbara Corro, an elementary school teacher and LDS Church member in Santiago, Chile. "It was really frustrating to see people in pain, so we put together a service project so we could do something for them."
Corro joined 30 other LDS members to assemble 10,000 hygiene kits following the massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in 2010. Amid the tragedy and upheaval, members of the Church in Chile responded quickly and effectively and sacrificed much to bless the lives of their neighbors in central Chile.
In addition to the hygiene kits, young women and Relief Society sisters in Santiago made desperately needed blankets. Some measured and cut from large rolls of polyester fleece to make the blankets. Others hemmed the edges of the blankets and embroidered the words ten fe y se valiente—"have faith and be brave."
In San Clemente, a city located south of Santiago, youth and leaders couldn’t have foreseen how the service project they had planned a few days before the quake would play out. Adrian Hernandez, who helped the youth group plan the project, didn’t know it would include rebuilding a house for his family. When his home was damaged beyond repair during the quake, the young men and their leaders helped Hernandez build a modest new home in less than three weeks.
Youth in Concepción, located along the western coast of South America, also experienced the spirit of service. The Church was able to ship tents, tarps, blankets, hygiene kits, and more to Concepción. When these much-needed supplies arrived, youth of the Concepción Central congregation stood ready to help. They energetically transferred supplies from large trucks into smaller trucks for delivery to devastated areas like Dichato on the coast.
"I have been helping for two weeks, working day and night," said 17-year-old Felipe. "Since I was a little child, my father taught me that we need to serve each other. That is why the desire to serve has always been in my heart. I hope youth around the world serve, not desiring any kind of reward, and always remember that many others face worse conditions than ours."
Carlos H. Amado, the Area President for the Church in Chile at the time of the earthquake, stated, “We were so happy with the quick response, the enthusiasm, the strength, the power, and the decision of the youth to be part of the positive action during the earthquake. In reality they pushed the leaders, requesting, 'Give us something to do.' They were 100 percent dedicated to doing something for these brothers and sisters who needed help."