News Release

Church Hosts Events for United Nations Conference in Salt Lake City

Latter-day Saint Charities partners to assemble meals for needy children

Updated August 28, 2019

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are hosting events in Salt Lake City this week associated with the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference. For the next several days, thousands of attendees are in Utah’s capital, the first city in the United States to host the annual event outside of the United Nations’ (U.N.) headquarters in New York City.

Downloadable video U.N. Conference Day 1: B-roll | SOTs

Downloadable video JustServe: B-roll | SOTs

Downloadable video Sharon Eubank Joins U.N. Panel: B-roll | SOTs

Downloadable video Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square Performs Concert for U.N. Attendees : B-roll SOTs

Downloadable video U.N. Leader Tours Humanitarian Center B-roll | SOTs

Downloadable video U.N. Conference Day 3 B-roll | SOTs

Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, is partnering with Feeding Children Everywhere, American Airlines and JustServe to assemble 375,000 meals for children in need as part of the conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

“I’m just blown away by how many people came,” said Sister Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities and first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. “People who are food insecure—that’s an easy thing that we can all rally around and do something about.”

“It matters to us to be able to bring people together. … This is how you show that you love God and love your neighbor,” added Sister Eubank.

“We couldn’t do it without the help of the volunteers serving behind us,” said Dave Green, CEO of Feeding Children Everywhere. “We realized that so many American families are out there struggling to put food on their table because of affordability.”

“I love that this opportunity was provided that we could come and actually do something meaningful,” explained volunteer Sarah Parson of Lifting Hands International.

“I’ve met people from all over the world today,” said Mark Maxfield of the Salt Lake Rotary Club. “I think this conference is not so much as to give someone a fish for a day, but it’s to help them learn how to fish for a lifetime.”

“This effort is very well organized and engrained in the community,” said Alison Smale, U.N. undersecretary-general for global communications, who helped assemble food on Tuesday. “I do think the basic human instinct is to help other people. … This is one way of organizing to do that.”

“It was really wonderful that she made the decision to come here and see what was going on with the service project,” said Elder Allen D. Haynie of the Seventy. “I think it’s letting everybody see what people can do when they get united when they care about something that’s important like feeding children.” In fact, he expressed appreciation to all the volunteers.

The U.N. has granted Latter-day Saint Charities ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) status. JustServe is being used as the vehicle to help recruit community volunteers for the service project.

“Building sustainable and inclusive cities and communities” is the theme of this year’s conference.

“Rather than just spontaneously doing something, if you work from your heart … the outcome will be sustainable,” said Sabita Geer, U.N. NGO representative of Brahma Kumaris, a Hindu spiritual movement.

Tuesday evening, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performed a private concert for conference attendees in the Conference Center.

                 

Sister Eubank participated in a thematic session on civil society Tuesday morning, discussing disaster preparedness on the community level. “I am convinced with my 21 years [of] experience, everyone can do something at a small scale.”

She continued, “In some places, this might be fancy 72-hour kits that we store someplace. In other places, this might be taking the staple food of rice, putting it in a soda bottle and storing it under the bed every time you cook so that you have a little bit of cushion if there are times when food and water [are] scarce.”

                      

“We are heartened to see this broad array of nations and organizations uniting to make this world a better place to live for all mankind,” said Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric, who spoke Wednesday afternoon during the conference’s closing plenary session.

“Just as protecting our planet requires worthy forms of personal sacrifice, so too we can sacrifice to sustain and include those around us, whoever they may be,” said Bishop Caussé.

“To the young people here today, it invigorates me to see how eager you are to improve lives,” he added. “Show us the way; carry the baton; maintain the flame; channel your enthusiasm; find ways to serve in your neighborhoods, in your communities, in your cities, countries and congregations. Serve at home and abroad. In doing so, those you reach will be blessed, but so too will you.”

Bishop Caussé reported nearly 501,000 meals were assembled during the conference by more than 4,000 volunteers, exceeding the goal for the service project by more than 126,000 meals.

During the conference, attendees also had the opportunity to tour the Church’s Welfare Square and view an exhibit titled “Connect Belong” in the convention center featuring Latter-day Saint Charities, JustServe and FamilySearch.

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