News Release

The Church of Jesus Christ Is Joining Hands with Other Faiths to Help Children in New York

The Church of Jesus Christ collaborates with more than 60 faith-based organizations during the 2023 holiday season

This holiday season, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is collaborating with some 60 faith-based organizations on more than 60 projects to bless over 42,000 children and families in the New York metro area.

At a reception at the Marriott Marquis in New York City on the evening of Monday, November 27, 2023, Latter-day Saints gathered some 130 representatives from these and other organizations to express gratitude for the good they do in the community.

“We want to express our deep appreciation for all of you. The fact that you are helping people is a marvelous thing,” said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “In my experience, people who feel accountable to God are those who try and reach out and help others because they do feel accountable to God. That is powerful. And I think that in this room we have people who are working day and night to bless our Heavenly Father’s children. We are all sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven.”

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Elder David L. Buckner, an Area Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ, thanked the gathered faith representatives for their commitment to unity and serving those most in need.

“There’s far too much noise out there that suggests people of faith are no longer able to come together and matter,” Elder Buckner said. “I can witness to you tonight in what I see here: Not only does it matter — it is the foundation of what will truly make change in the future. You do so much that often is not seen. I want to thank you for your commitment to seek out people who are discouraged, who are brokenhearted, who are lost. I want to thank you for your example of faith and demonstration that faith really matters.”

The Rev. Que English, director of the Partnership Center of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told the group that the work they are doing to bless children and families in New York is a model for coming together and bridging the gaps that divide us.

“The seeds you sow are the seeds you grow,” said the Rev. English, who visited Church headquarters in Salt Lake City in the summer of 2022 with other religious leaders from New York. “The things that you are doing for your community and for your children will not return void. Continue to be light. God bless you.”

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of New York, who has been to Utah several times and has a longstanding friendship with Elder Cook, also spoke Monday. He shared a lesson he learned years ago in a New York snowstorm. After the snowstorm he was walking in the snow with his son.

“[My son] said, ‘Dad I’m following your footsteps,’” Rabbi Potasnik said. “Maybe that’s a message for all of us. Those young kids are following in our footsteps. And that’s why they need three things from us. They need a hand to hold. They need a shoulder upon which to learn. And above all [they need] an example from which to learn. Thankfully, because of [the Church of Jesus Christ and] because of all of you from different faith traditions, we are able to provide all three to those young people.”

Elder Cook said Monday’s gathering was important because “there are a lot of people who don’t get thanked very often” for the good they do. And it was an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.

“Many of us have been friends for a long time, and I’ve watched the amazing things that many of them are doing,” Elder Cook said. “Some of the faiths are very large. Some are well known. [They all] love people, they love God, and we’ve become very close to them. And they know we have enormous respect for them and their commitments and their faith.”

As he concluded his remarks, Rabbi Potasnik shared a thought he heard from Elder Buckner's wife, Jennifer, about sharing our light with those around us.

“You can take a candle and light many others — and it does not diminish the integrity of that candle,” Rabbi Potasnik said. “We can give to one another. And we don’t have to compromise our identity. We can realize that, yes, we can have our different beliefs — but we also belong with one spiritual birth certificate that is the same. We are all children of God, and we all belong to one family.”

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