News Release

Latter-day Saints Distribute More Than $6.3 Million #LightTheWorld Donations to Charity

Global Charities Receive More Than $3.2 Million Dollars from Latter-day Saints at NYC Distribution Event

Latter-day Saints are distributing unique items and services worth more than $6 million in support of 45 global and local charities and their communities.

 

Downloadable b-roll and SOTs for journalists

Over a span of 54 days, the collective contributions were gathered during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ #LightTheWorld Christmas season campaign and are now being delivered to the various organizations that participated.

“Any place where a Latter-day Saint lives, we are trying to be good people in our communities and lift people up,” said Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church.

During the service-centered initiative, Giving Machines were placed at 10 different locations around the world.

The vending machines provided Church members with opportunities to sponsor specific service activities with the swipe of a bank card or cash to help partnering charities purchase items such as food, clothing, medicine, hygiene supplies, sporting equipment and livestock for the different demographics they serve.

“We’re givers and receivers at different points and parts of our lives,” said Sister Eubank. “Something like this connects us to one another.”

The check distribution for a combined total of $3,260,267 on behalf of Latter-day Saint donors from around the world who chose to give to international organizations recently took place in New York City.

“We’re very humbled by the fact that Church World Service was the organization that received the largest donations,” said Maurice A. Bloem, Executive Vice President of Church World Service, after receiving a monetary donation worth almost $1.9 million.

Church World Service, a group that provides sustainable self-help, disaster relief and refugee assistance, was one of three global non-profit organizations that received financial support from members of the Latter-day Saint faith around the globe.

People who chose Church World Service as the benefactor of their generosity through local Giving Machines sponsored unique items and services and purchased 8,791 of lifesaving nutrition, 1,248 acres of sweet potatoes and over 45,000 livestock animals during the campaign.

“It’s about putting your hands together, making connections, showing people around the world that they can do something for somebody else.”

Latter-day Saints from the Big Apple representing their fellow congregants worldwide also handed checks to additional charities, including WaterAID, an organization that helps people gain access to clean water, and UNICEF USA, a group that advocates for the world’s children.

Local Church members gave the checks to partners since Latter-day Saint Charities is their charity.

“It was so sweet for me to be able to meet them,” said Tammy Potter, a local Church member from New York City who handed the check to the non-profit organizations’ representatives.

“To watch their faces, so surprised at how much was actually raised and how much people wanted to give for their particular charity was such an honor.”

Potter was accompanied by a fellow congregant, and together, the pair handed over a total of $3.2 million to the international organizations.

“It’s been incredible to see how the Church has really led its commitment to service and inspired others to get involved to make a difference,” said Leslie Goldman, vice president of Global Cause Partnerships at UNICEF USA.

Latter-day Saints Distribute Over $3 Million in #LightTheWorld Donations to Help Local Charities

Members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who participated in the #LightTheWorld campaign also made a collective impact on local charities at the various Giving Machine locations. The following are several local donation distribution highlights.

                                                             

Salt Lake City, Utah

In Salt Lake City, Utah, several organizations received additional funding to help them provide further assistance to the specific demographics they serve.

Charity recipients included Utah Refugee Connection, Eye Care 4 Kids, Neighborhood House and the Utah Food Bank.

“You out there in the community purchase these awesome things to make a difference for local refugees and it stays right here in our community,” said Amy Dott Harmer, director of Utah Refugee Connection.

The Utah-based charity incentivizes local refugees with household products and food for participating in educational courses, including English as a Second Language, that help them transition into their new communities.

The #LightTheWorld campaign collected over $124,000 for the group. This additional funding will enable the non-profit entity to purchase more school and cleaning supplies for refugee families in need.

Zynab Adam, a former refugee originally from Sudan, expressed her gratitude for the donations, “I [would] like to say thank you, thank you and thank you. [It’s] not enough for you, for all the people [that] support refugees.”

Adam now volunteers multiple times a week to help organize donations for the Utah Refugee Connection, an organization that once helped her.

 
                                   

                 

Eye Care 4 Kids, a charity that provides professional eye care to underserved children, was gifted $183,450 from Latter-day Saints who donated to the entity.

“[I’m] really excited to choose new frames,” said 11-year-old Rekha, who visited Eye Care 4 Kids with her guardian the day that #LightTheWorld donations were distributed.

Rekha plays multiple sports at school and broke her eyeglasses while playing one of them.

“Without glasses, her studies were significantly impaired, and Rekha loves school,” said Hillarie Christley, Rekha’s guardian.

The #LightTheWorld contribution will aid the charity with funding eyeglasses, eye contacts, vision screenings, mobile vision clinics and cataract surgeries for children like Rekha who suffer from vision problems.

                                                     

The Utah Food Bank also received a monetary donation worth over $338,000, the equivalent of 1,315,000 meals. Campaign donors sponsored groceries and food for individuals, families and senior citizens.

“Thank you for what you represent and all those who are part of that,” said Ginette Bott, chief executive officer of the Utah Food Bank.

                                                   

Manila, Philippines

Latter-day Saints in Manila donated P 848,900 during the #LightTheWorld campaign.

Some who were beneficiaries of the donations were awarded a HERO Foundation scholarship. The HERO Foundation is a local organization that provides scholarship assistance to fallen armed forces’ children. Collectively, members of the Church sponsored multiple school and college tuition fees for the organization’s recipients.

UNICEF Philippines and Caritas Manila, a Catholic social welfare program, also received checks on behalf of Latter-day Saints who participated in the #LightTheWorld campaign to purchase disaster relief and health service items.

                                                 

Denver, Colorado

In Colorado, #LightTheWorld participants donated over 25,000 items totaling more than $660,000 for local charities, such as the Black Child Development Institute, whose mission is to improve and advance the quality of black children’s lives through education and advocacy.

“One of our top purchases were at-home libraries,” said Cassandra Johnson from the institute’s Denver affiliate. “Having 20 books or more at home will increase their literacy skills and put them on the road to having higher education.”

Additional local charities that received #LightTheWorld donations from Church members in Denver included Mile High Ministries, an entity that seeks to help the poor, and the Rose Andom Center, a group that facilitates services for victims of domestic violence.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.