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How the Church of Jesus Christ Is Caring for Those in Need

The Church and its members take part in thousands of humanitarian projects throughout the world

The World Food Programme provided food assistance to 118,000 conflict-affected people in northeast Beni territory, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, in July 2022. A $32 million donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the program was announced in September 2022. Photo courtesy of World Food Programme, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

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By Mary Richards, Church News

When the Church gave $32 million to the United Nations World Food Programme on September 14, it marked the faith’s largest one-time contribution to a humanitarian organization to date.

The donation — presented by Bishop L. Todd Budge, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, in Rome, Italy — will help provide food and critical assistance to 1.6 million people facing food crises in nine countries.

On September 21, the Church announced a $5 million donation to UNICEF to help fight global malnutrition among children under age 5 in up to 24 countries.

These two recent donations carry on a decades-old priority of the Church to care for those in need, including nearly $1 billion in donations in the year 2021 alone.

In 2021, the Church and its members took part in 3,909 humanitarian projects in 188 countries, with 6.8 million hours of volunteer work.

Bishop Budge said in a recent interview with the Church News: “The humanitarian outreach of the Church is given without regard to race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or any of those things, the labels that tend to divide us. We reach out to everyone — all of God’s children — because God loves them all.”

From helping refugees to participating in clean-water projects, self-reliance courses and disaster relief, the Church of Jesus Christ gets involved because it is what the Savior taught, explained Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé in a Church News interview.

“Helping others and reaching out to the people in need is really at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We wouldn’t be the Church of Jesus Christ if we did not follow or strive to follow His example every day,” Bishop Caussé said.

“One of the things that He showed us to do is love our neighbor as ourselves. He taught us about the two great commandments, to love God and love our neighbor. And these are our brothers and sisters all around the world.”

Global Humanitarian Initiatives

The Church has helped in many ways over several months with the massive humanitarian response to Europe’s refugee crisis brought on by conflict in Ukraine. Church efforts have also helped refugee children with a program in Lebanon and another in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, improved conditions for refugee children in Uganda, and funded digital literacy for adult refugees in the United States.

Safe drinking water, wheelchairs, education, nutrition and vision care are just some of the humanitarian initiatives that the Church focuses on as it collaborates with other organizations around the world.

This year, the Church donated roughly 450 new wheelchairs to the islands of Guam and Palau, 2,000 new wheelchairs in South Africa, more than 800 specialized wheelchairs in Mexico, around 300 in Honduras, 1,300 wheelchairs and orthopedic items throughout Argentina, and prosthetics for more than 500 people in Indonesia.

Wheelchair recipients and team members from Telethon Honduras Foundation pose for the cameras during an event signifying the donation of hundreds of wheelchairs from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Honduras on April 7, 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Water projects included helping a village in Uganda restore its water source, completing a large borehole project in Ghana, providing a grant after storms in Malawi and Mozambique, installing new drinking water systems in Panama, giving water tanks to fire victims in Australia, building water wells in Iraq, improving conditions in Syria, donating new wells in Peru, harvesting rainwater in Mexico, and renovating a water system in Tahiti.

Educational efforts included giving children backpacks and school supplies in Lebanon; donating desks, Bibles and Qurans in Kenya; building new classrooms in Nigeria and Mozambique; refurbishing a school in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; providing a safe place for Roma children in Serbia; and donating to educational institutions in Latin America.

Students in Lebanon receive backpacks from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Union of Relief and Development Associations in early 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Nutritional endeavors included multiple donations of food, supplies, money and other humanitarian aid to countries throughout South America, a food drive aiding 2,500 people in Ethiopia, a food growing program in Ghana, and early childhood intervention in Nigeria and Liberia. The Church also helped bring water and electricity to a Navajo community in Utah.

The Church helped provide converted sewing machines for women in Guyana and vision care screenings to bless lives in Ghana. Church donations helped women and children in Peru and Argentina; medical supplies were shipped to Fiji, French Polynesia and Papua New Guinea; and hospitals received donations in Nicaragua and other countries in Latin America.

Emergency Response

When natural disasters struck this past year, the Church sent immediate aid and members showed up in force to help.

The Church sent supplies to Tonga after the volcanic eruption in January, and Latter-day Saints in New Zealand later shipped more relief. Church leaders and members gave disaster relief and service for flooding victims in Brazil and Ecuador in February.

In March, members drove long distances to help Australian residents affected by flooding. The Church donated more than 9 tons of food and supplies after flooding in Peru, and nearly $1 million went to South Africa after flooding there.

Members of the Crestwood Kentucky Stake show some of the debris removed from flooded homes in Hazard, Kentucky, on August 20, 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Water and supplies went to Mexico to help victims of flash flooding in August, and thousands of Church members drove to the U.S. state of Kentucky over two weekends to help residents who lost everything in floods.

Saints in Malawi rebuilt a bridge washed away by Tropical Storm Ana. Recently, members in yellow Helping Hands shirts and vests have been cleaning up floodwaters in the Caribbean after Hurricane Fiona.

Welfare and Self-Reliance

Donations from the Church—including monetary funds and truckloads of food—benefited food banks and food pantries throughout the United States and Canada. Volunteers, missionaries and full-time employees ran Church farms, canneries and processing plants.

Two new Welfare and Self-Reliance Services facilities opened, one in Tuscon, Arizona, and the other in Saratoga Springs, Utah, including Deseret Industries stores, Family Services, bishops’ storehouses and other services.

Two Church service missionaries take a tour of Deseret Industries at the new Welfare and Self-Reliance facility in Saratoga Springs, Utah, on September 14, 2022. The facility will include the efforts of many service missionaries in different functions.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The Church’s emotional-resilience training expanded to 15 languages. Employment Services missionaries and volunteers helped thousands of individuals with job coaching and searches. Church volunteers helped provide services at the Welcome Center in Phoenix, Arizona.


Service and JustServe

In 2022, Church members were expected to cross a major threshold of donating 1 million units of blood for the American Red Cross. Saints held blood drives in other countries including El Salvador, Peru, Colombia and Nigeria.

Members partnered with their neighbors to help orphans in Nigeria, assist children and families in Colombia, clean up neighborhoods in Peru, restore schools and homes throughout West Africa, provide landscape and labor services in the Pacific, and paint in Fiji. A University of Utah college student led cookie sales to help rebuild Haiti.

JustServe—a website and app that connects volunteers with service opportunities—celebrated its 11th anniversary in September and launched in New Zealand with a large quilt project. In several places, youth and young adults formed high school service clubs and created projects on the platform.

JustServe volunteers hold up a plarn mat made from plastic grocery bags. The project was one of many acts of service done during a “Love thy neighbor as thyself” event in Chandler, Arizona, on February 19, 2022. Photo courtesy of Robin Finlinson, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

JustServe projects included multiple efforts to help refugees feel welcome in England and to resettle refugees in Colorado. In other projects, volunteers made quilts for children in Armenia, period products for girls in Kenya, Christmas ornaments for Kentucky flood victims and Valentine’s Day cards for Idaho seniors.

An interfaith effort cleaned up trash around Portland, Oregon, while another interfaith project resulted in new quilts for people in need in Vernal, Utah. Monthly potluck luncheons came with service projects in Arizona.

Volunteers fed hundreds of people in Hawaii and packaged meals for children in Chicago, Illinois, and Ogden, Utah. They gathered prom dresses for teenage girls in California; Christmas toys for children in Vancouver, British Columbia; and thousands of hygiene supplies in Arizona.

A JustServe project sent much-needed school supplies to Haiti, while a day of service in Arizona resulted in hundreds of new items for community groups. Volunteers built gardens with former inmates in Utah and partnered with the community to help kids in England.

Students at New Kiskeya Christian School in Haiti hold up their notebooks in front of a display of new supplies that came in a shipment from San Bernardino, California, as part of a JustServe project from January to May of 2022. Photo courtesy of James Ulysse, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

JustServe’s collaboration with BillionGraves meant thousands of gravestones documented and transcribed online for family history work. Volunteers worked on these efforts in New England and the Midwest United States.

‘Everyone Is Our Neighbor’

Bishop Budge said Latter-day Saint scripture outlines that people “should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will and choice” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27).

“I believe our members live that principle. They get involved, they get engaged with good causes and serve,” he said.

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, expanded upon the commandment to love one’s neighbor.

“Who is our neighbor? Everyone is our neighbor. ... We reach out to everyone, whatever their circumstances may be, wherever they may be from, whatever race or religion,” he said in an interview with the Church News. “We’re here to bless everyone that we can bless.”

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