LOS ANGELES — More than 200 Mormon and Muslim youths helped assemble school supplies into more than 650 backpacks and school packets to be distributed at a school fair for students at the 68th Street Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles on Dec. 4.
School officials had contacted a local clinic, which in turn got in touch with the Muslim and Mormon groups, which included 18 wards in the Los Angeles and Inglewood stakes. Early in September, these organizations began gathering donations of materials for the project. The LDS Church trucked 800 school packets from Salt Lake City for the cause. Costco and other local businesses also contributed backpacks and supplies for the children. Most of the donations, however, came from the families and youths of the participating faiths.
On Dec. 4, the school had a fair where the students visited 20 booths sponsored by agencies that serve the local community. Some of the booths at the fair included the UMMA Community Clinic offering health information, a library providing materials on literacy, and others providing resources for financial matters, legal aid, fire and crime prevention.
As the children visited and learned from each booth, they had a card stamped. With a completed card, they earned a new backpack that had just been filled with notebooks, pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, folders, glue sticks, erasers and other school supplies.
About two dozen of the youths helped with the fair at the face-painting booth and passed out balloons to the children.
After the assembling was completed, and while some of the volunteers passed out the backpacks and school packets to the school children, the Mormon and Muslim teens played "Human Bingo," a get-acquainted mixer. They then had a discussion about similarities in belief and practices among the Latter-day Saints and those who follow Islam.
"Our students, their families and our community appreciate the UMMA Community Clinic, the Mormons, and the Islamic Center for the service and school supplies they provided," said Joanne Doram, the school's principal.