News Release

Church and the Salvation Army Team Up to Feed the Hungry

A $1 million donation will help more than 150 communities throughout the United States

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given $1 million to the Salvation Army to help this important Christian movement turn pandemic-induced frowns upside down this Christmas season.

The cash donation will support food distribution in more than 150 locations throughout the United States.

“We know what James says [in the New Testament], that a religion that is accepted is characterized by taking care of the widows and orphans, those who are hungry, those who are suffering in this world,” said Colonel Kenneth Johnson, national chief secretary of the Salvation Army in the United States. “And what the Latter-day Saints do to come alongside the Salvation Army and impact in a positive way those lives that are suffering—we cannot say thank you enough.”


Johnson’s comments came during a video call Wednesday, December 16, 2020, with Church Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, Church Managing Director of Welfare and Self-Reliance Services Blaine Maxfield and other leaders of the Salvation Army in the United States.

This gift from the Church is a response to an increased demand on the Salvation Army’s food kitchens and an anticipated decrease in donations for its annual Christmas campaign. The offer is also the second of its kind this year. In April 2020, the Church donated cash and commodities to the Salvation Army to provide pandemic relief.

The April and December donations represent 52,000 food boxes, each of which feeds four to five people for several meals, said Salvation Army U.S. Western Territory Commissioner Doug Riley.

In addition to the food being a significant boon, Riley said the relationships forged in community service are of equal value.

“Your volunteers, your employees, your Church members who come alongside and provide those hands and feet and make our distribution and pack our boxes—it’s been a godsend to us,” Riley said.

“We feel a small part of this great work,” Bishop Caussé said of the efforts of the Salvation Army that bless more than 30 million lives annually in the United States. “You have experience that is unmatched. It’s a great honor for any member of the Church that gives of their resources to this cause because they know there is a trust there. It’s not only trust—it’s also something with the right spirit because we are all Christians. We want to emulate the example of the Savior, loving Him and loving our neighbor. The best way to do it is by reaching out to those who are suffering.”

“Our pledge to you,” Johnson said, “is that we will continue to honor your trust in us. And that as we work together, shoulder to shoulder, we’re gonna turn a lot of frowns into smiles of people that are suffering in this world. From the bottom of our hearts, we salute you.”

The Church of Jesus Christ has partnered with the Salvation Army since 1988. Over those 32 years, the Church has made some 350 cash or commodity donations to various Salvation Army locations across the United States. Many of these donations have included food from the Church’s bishops’ central storehouses and vouchers for clothing and household items from the faith’s Deseret Industries stores. Outside the United States, the Church has contributed to more than 100 Salvation Army projects in 30 countries since 1994.

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s video call, Colonel Johnson spoke of the practice of one Salvation Army volunteer who writes a thank you letter to God each day for the service opportunities given to him from heaven.

Colonel Johnson said perhaps he will write such a letter tonight with these words: “Lord, thank You for the opportunities that we have of collaborating with the Latter-day Saint community and for the opportunities that we have of serving together.”

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