James M. McClain, of Northfield, recently welcomed 21-year-old son Ryan back from a mission trip to Argentina for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was a trip James took himself in 1982-83, to both proselytize and serve.

The McClains are one of a small but growing number of Mormon families in South Jersey. Their church, located on Zion Road in Egg Harbor Township, holds Sunday services for people from throughout Atlantic County, and from northern Cape May County, said McClain, 50.

The public interest lawyer with South Jersey Legal Services in Atlantic City grew up in Linwood. When he was 10 years old in 1972, his family joined the LDS church, he said, attracted by the focus on keeping covenants and the belief in the family unit staying together for eternity.

It meant his parents, both two-pack-a-day smokers, had to quit that habit and give up coffee and tea and all alcoholic drinks, he said.

“They did it cold turkey. It wasn’t a problem,” he said, although some friends refused to socialize with them without  alcohol. “One of (the church’s) beliefs is our bodies are temples of God,” so strict dietary laws must be followed.

McClain and wife, Robin, and children, Heather, 26; Ryan 21; Ally 20; Courtney 16; and Hannah, 13, will be volunteering for the LDS Church’s Helping Hands Project, which provides volunteers to clean up the yards of elderly and disabled people after this summer’s storms.

If you need help:

Mormon Helping Hands volunteers work free of charge and provide their own equipment. Elderly and disabled residents in Cumberland and Atlantic counties that need help cutting and removing fallen trees and limbs can call 2-1-1, ext. 21.

Eagle Scout

Daniel A. Schenker, 18, of Folsom, was honored at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor and at a council meeting by borough officials and a representative of U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, for his efforts in transforming old tennis courts into a new basketball court for his Eagle Scout project.

 His parents are Greg and Georgeann Schenker.

Helping the elderly

 Stephanie Lutz-Koch, of Margate, has joined Jewish Family Service in Margate as consultant to create a “Village by the Shore” to keep the elderly connected to their communities, said Executive Director Andrea Steinberg.

Lutz-Koch has volunteered with JFS for five years and owns Bon-Ton Blinds & Interiors, in Egg Harbor Township. Contact skochvillage@jfsatlantic.org/.