Mormons from across U.S. camp out in Jax to help

Hundreds of volunteers camping behind San Marco church

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville area is experiencing a huge influx of volunteers who have shown up to help with Hurricane Irma relief efforts. Hundreds of them are camping in tents behind the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in San Marco.

Some volunteers arrived and immediately put up tents, while others didn’t bother and went right to work.

Stephen Heywood is one of the church members volunteering locally and among 7,000 statewide. 

“It’s a little hot and muggy, but it’s what you’ve got to do,” Heywood said. "A lot of the work I’ve been doing is tree removal and debris removal (and) pushing stuff off buildings."

News4Jax reporter Scott Johnson spoke with Elder Douglas Carter, who said the volunteer work is part of the church’s mission and the reason why scores of food and supply boxes were also handed out.

“One of the things we express in the church is loving your neighbor,” Carter said.

Carter said they knew Irma was going to be a massive storm, so they’re trying to meet the storm’s aftermath with as massive a response.

“This is something we’ve been doing in earnest since Hurricane Andrew," Carter said. “We’ve done it over the last 13 years with every hurricane that hits Florida. We’ve gotten to learn how to do it and how to do it efficiently.”

Anyone who needs volunteers to help clear debris can call 800-451-1954.

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