News Release

Latter-day Saints Around the World: Country Newsroom Websites, August 31, 2020

Newsroom features stories from its dozens of Newsroom websites around the world to show what members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are doing to better serve their communities. Today we feature news from Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan, Singapore, Tahiti and the United States.


United States: Church Volunteers Begin Disaster Response Efforts After Severe Thunderstorms Devastate Cedar Rapids

Over 1,000 volunteers from the Church’s Helping Hands program, along with representatives from the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Convention and other institutions answered the call to help residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rebuild after a destructive series of severe thunderstorms in August 2020 destroyed 10 million acres of corn and damaged as many as 90% of homes in the area.

Thus far, the team has volunteered 6,000 hours in Cedar Rapids and another 1,000 hours in the surrounding areas, working on damaged homes and crops. Church-sponsored food donations are also underway as a key element of the relief efforts. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” Stephen Beck, the city manager in Belle Plaine, said of the devastation.

Beck said the effects of the volunteer work on the community are miraculous. “[When] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mobilized and responded to our community … I witnessed miracles large and small,” he said. “The cumulative effect of their love and caring transformed the townspeople … I saw folks with the hardest of hearts laughing with joy and receiving God’s grace delivered through [the] team.”

“It has been a long time since something good has happened, and this was the beginning of it,” said Peter Teahen, a businessman from Cedar Rapids and a COVID-19 survivor. “Your volunteers were machines, and they accomplished more than I could have ever imagined.”

Tahiti: Latter-day Saints Sew Over 8,000 Masks for Fellow Citizens

In April, members of the Pape’ete Tahiti Stake set a goal to sew 8,000 masks to protect against COVID-19. The project has since produced over 8,400 masks, which were presented to the mayor of Pape’ete, Michel Buillard, on July 31.

“This action is a way for our members to be part of the solution for our mayor and to protect our society, especially the citizens of our capital city,” said Bruno Ercoli, stake president.

The Pacific Newsroom (English) reported that Mayor Buillard expressed gratitude for the delivery. “We have had a long relationship with the Pape’ete Stake, but this kind of partnership is a first!” he said. “We are grateful for this assistance as now we are ready and better prepared.”

Guatemala: Latter-day Saints Participate in Solidarity Hearts Campaign to Provide Food for Families of COVID-19 Patients

The Guatemala Newsroom (Spanish) announced that 1,000 bags of food and personal hygiene items were delivered by representatives of the Corazones Solidarios (Solidarity Hearts) campaign to the Mayor of Guatemala City, Ricardo Quiñónez, in early August. The bags were intended for families of COVID-19 patients and had been procured by the Church, Emisoras Unidas, the Rotary Emergency Committee and Hospital Los Ángeles, among other campaign participants.

“Today an important group of good neighbors represented by different companies and the Church give testimony that if we unite, we achieve results for the benefit of the families of our city,” said Mayor Quiñónez.

Singapore Donations in COVID-19
Latter-day Saint volunteers, in partnership with the Lions Befrienders (a social service agency), deliver 146 care packages containing hand sanitizer, vitamins and surface cleaners to seniors living in the Ang Mo Kio residential district in Singapore, July 2020.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Singapore: Donation of Care Packages Delivered to Senior Citizens

In July, Latter-day Saint volunteers, in partnership with the Lions Befrienders (a social service agency), delivered 146 care packages for seniors living in the Ang Mo Kio residential district in Singapore. The packages contained hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, surface cleaners and vitamin C tablets.

In an interview with Newsroom Singapore (English), Liney Mae, a young volunteer who participated in the drop-off, said, “Service changes people. It refines, purifies, gives a finer perspective and brings out the best in each one of us. It gets us looking outward instead of inward.”

Tahiti: Civic Leaders and Latter-day Saints Join Forces to Beautify Their City

City representatives approached local Church leaders in Faa’a, Tahiti, requesting “more support for the city’s waste management program, and in particular, to help stop illegal dumping of waste along the roadsides.”

In response, Latter-day Saint leaders launched a stake-wide communication campaign to educate and remind members of ways they can reduce, reuse and recycle. According to the Pacific Newsroom (English), a service project to plant new greenery along city roads is also in the planning stages.

“God created our beautiful earth, and we have the privilege of living on such beautiful islands,” said Genevieve Mana, the project manager for the stake. “As wise and considerate stewards, it is up to us to inhabit the planet differently to protect and respect our natural resources and preserve our health.”

Japan: Vehicles Sent to Assist in Typhoon Cleanup

To assist recovery efforts following Typhoon No. 19, the Japan Newsroom (Japanese) announced that a small fleet of vehicles was donated to Hitachi Omiya City by the Church. Typhoon No. 19 devastated the Kanto region in October 2019, leaving 90 people dead or missing, over 70,000 houses flooded, and an additional 4,000 homes destroyed.

Meetings of city councils and social welfare representatives have been held weekly since the disaster to discuss the needs of impacted families and to coordinate relief efforts with other organizations. Local Church leaders participate in the meetings.

India Donations help Farmers
A woman milks her cow in a shed built with support from the Benson Food Project run by Latter-day Saint Charities, and the NGO CHOICE Humanitarian Nepal, India, August 2020.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

India: Donations Enable Farmers to Keep Up With Demand

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led several mayors in India to suspend importing food from surrounding areas, placing a higher demand on local farms. Contributions from the Benson Food Project, run by Latter-day Saint Charities, and the NGO CHOICE Humanitarian Nepal, are helping maintain harvest equipment and improving living conditions for farm animals. These efforts have enabled many farmers to “produce enough vegetables and milk to sell within their communities and beyond,” the Nepal Newsroom (English) reports.

Honduras: 104 Medical Centers Benefit From Church Donation

On August 21, Dr. Kevin Valladares, assistant to the regional headquarters of the Ministry of Health, accepted a large contribution of biosafety items from the Church. This included 1,500 masks, 6,000 pairs of gloves, hundreds of protective lenses, surgical caps, boots and gowns. The items will be distributed among the 104 medical assistance centers of the department. Read more at the Honduras Newsroom. (Spanish)

Japan: Church Humanitarian Projects Support More Than 35,000 in Japan

In March, Elder Takashi Wada (an area leader for the Church), with other Church representatives, met with officials of the Department of General Disasters in Tokyo. They discussed the needs of medical staff and community members as they continue to address COVID-19.

Later, Church leaders throughout Japan were called on to help prioritize projects. Many donations were made across the country, consisting mainly of masks, cleaning and sanitizing agents, food, and clothing. To learn more about completed, ongoing, and future projects and donations the Church is involved in, please read the Japan Newsroom (Japanese) report.

Bolivia: Hospital Benefits From Donation of Masks and Linens

In mid-July, a delivery of medical supplies, bedding and towels was made to the city of Trinidad-Beni. The items were donated by the Department of Welfare and Self-Reliance Services of the Church to help hospitals care for patients during the pandemic. To learn more about the donation, visit the Bolivia Newsroom. (Spanish)

Guatemala: Church Members Support Local Hospital During Pandemic

Thanks to generous donations from its members, the Church delivered stretchers, carts, masks, gowns, and a washer and dryer to the Regional Hospital of Cuilapa in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. According to a Guatemala Newsroom article (Spanish), Dr. Margarita Elizabeth Cortez received the contributions on July 31. She said the Church’s donations “[have] always been very timely.”

Japan Donations 19
Mr. Kenji Kotoge, secretary-general of the Takayama City Council of Social Welfare, receives 1,000 donated towels to help with cleanup after flooding from Sachi Yoshihko, president of the Kanazawa Stake, Japan, July 2020.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Japan: Relief Society Gathers and Donates 1,000 Towels to Flood Victims

Members of the Relief Society (the Church’s organization for women) in the faith’s Kanazawa stake gathered 1,000 towels for residents affected by flooding from heavy rainfall in early July. The flood caused excessive damage in the Gifu prefecture and forced over 200,000 people to evacuate, reports Japan Newsroom. (Japanese)

Junko Yoshida, Kanazawa Stake Relief Society president, oversaw the efforts of the Relief Society. “I wanted to help people. … I immediately [got to work],” she said. “[We had] about 1,000 towels and rags gathered in a short period of about four days.”

Sister Yoshida presented the donation to Kenji Kotoge, the secretary general of Takayama City Council, on July 22 at the Takayama Volunteer Support Center.

Honduras: Church Donates Food for COVID-19 Victims

More than 1,600 residents of San Pedro Sula will soon have more food in their pantries. The Church recently donated bags of food made possible by monetary donations of local Church members. The Honduras Newsroom (Spanish) says the items will be distributed throughout the community to those in need by city representatives in San Pedro Sula.

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