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      Church group improves lives in La Joya colonias

      Some families in the La Joya area are living a little more comfortably Saturday night.

      More than 400 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took part in the Mormon Helping Hands project Saturday helping families in need."Serving is just a part of what we do in the church and we are trying to follow the example of our savior Jesus Christ, local LDS church leader Larry Wilson said.

      With the help of La Joya ISD, the church identified more than a dozen families in need of home improvements.

      "There's two families that will have an inside shower for the first time," another local LDS church leader, Brice Chandler said.

      The Acuna family is one of those families.

      "We have a shower but it was kind of outside and we would get cold but now we won't have to be cold," Teresa Acuna said.

      Like many families who live in the colonias across south Texas, the Acuna family would run electricity to their home using extension cords.

      Saturday, Helping Hands volunteers dug a trench and laid down underground wiring.

      "I feel really great! It's a little embarrassing to need people to help us but I TMm very thankful," Acuna said.

      A year ago Guadalupe de la Cruz and her four children moved into this home with dirt floors and no insulation.

      "We put up this tarp so dirt wouldn TMt get in so the kids wouldn't get sick, de la Cruz said. "We put it up so if it would rain, it wouldn't get the few things we had wet, our beds and the little clothing we have."

      De la Cruz says her girls have been anticipating this day for a long time.

      "When they get home from school they come running to see if their house is finished," de la Cruz said.

      This Thanksgiving holiday both those extending a helping hand and those receiving one will have more to be grateful for.

      "Anyone regardless of their faith feels better when they help other people and do something outside themselves," Chandler said.Helping hands also cleaned up graffiti in two Hidalgo County and parks and distributed donated clothing to dozens of families in the area.Click here to follow Brett Crandall on FacebookClick here to follow Brett Crandall on Twitter