Service projects keep community busy

BLACKFOOT — Service to community was the theme at several activities around Blackfoot on Saturday.
Members of various wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of Jason Lee Memorial United Methodist Church prepared corn for the Community Dinner Table.
Over 100 people participated in the Second Annual Buddy Walk to support families and increase awareness of Down Syndrome. And firefighters invited passers-by to Fill the Boot for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In addition, people celebrated the things that make many of our neighbors unique during a Cultural Diversity Fair at Jensen Grove.
"We're here to help feed the needy," said Randy Shiosaki as he prepared to cut corn off the cob at the Methodist church. "There's a little glow inside that you're helping your fellow man."
The Community Dinner Table, sponsored by a consortium of faith-based communities, provides a free dinner to all who need it each Tuesday from October to March.
Richard Johnson, owner of Grove City Gardens, donated 5,000 ears of corn. Members of several LDS wards picked the corn and shucked it before others transported it to the Methodist church.
"It's just the community getting together to help feed some people," Johnson said.
"More hands make little work," said Paul Beutler as he joined others in the field and at the sides of pickup beds full of the vegetable.
"It's the right thing to do," Beutler said of his volunteer service.
"This is how I was raised," Shiosaki said of giving service.
The Buddy Walk featured people traversing the Jensen Grove walkway around the lake. At times it stretched two to three city blocks.
"This helps with community awareness," said Gina Wixom, whose daughter Ashton has Down. "A lot of people don't know about Down. We have a lot more things in common than differences.
"We're trying to raise awareness that they're a boy or girl first, then they just happen to have Down," Wixom said. "Sure they're different, but aren't we all?"
"This is get to know other families who are dealing with the same issues," said her husband Doni. "It lets you know you're not alone in your challenges."
Teresa Gallegos, a teacher at Blackfoot High School, invited her students to volunteer at the walk.
"We want the families to know there are people who support them," Gallegos said. "I want my students to know it's important to give back to the community. I was impressed with the students who signed up."
A Boy Scout leader came in support of an Eagle Scout candidate who was helping members of his troop play games with the children with Down Syndrome before and after the walk.
Firefighters stationed themselves at the corner of the streets which carry traffic into the Walmart parking lot and invited passers-by to donate to the MDA. Few passed by without dropping in some money which will go toward finding a cure for the debilitating disease.
Dancers from Fort Hall and from the Hispanic community were among those who shared pride in their cultures during the Diversity Fair. Other people sold some of their favorite foods or provided the opportunity to buy items specific to their heritage.