Additional Resource

Relief Society General President Supports Nutrition Program Expansion

The general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants to see a pilot nutrition program started in the Philippines a year ago expanded to other countries.


“Since returning, I have been thinking about how we can expand this opportunity to others in the world,” said Sister Jean B. Bingham, who visited the community of Catarman, located in the province of Northern Samar, in early February. “There are other areas in the world that have a similar problem.”

Latter-day Saint families in seven stakes or congregations participated in a pilot program initiated at the local level to improve the nutrition of their children.

During her visit, she also traveled to Toledo City in the Cebu province to observe children being screened for malnutrition at a local meetinghouse.

“Some of the adults didn't think that there was going to be a problem with their children,” said Sister Bingham, the leader of the women’s organization of the Church, which was formed 178 years ago this month.

“It was very interesting for them to find out that in fact, the children can be not hungry, but they're missing the nutrients,” she said.

Sister Bingham continued, “If the children do not receive appropriate nutrition by the time they're five, not only are they smaller in physical stature, but their brains are stunted and so for the rest of their life. They're limited in their cognitive abilities and their thinking abilities, and they can't be as successful in school.”

Rice and bread are common staples in Filipino diets, but some families were missing fresh fruits and vegetables on their menus.

Sister Bingham said each congregation formed a nutrition council to administer the program.

“Every area had someone with medical backgrounds,” she said. “Some people had nutrition, some people had connections with the government, so they knew of programs that could help them and they could access. They came together with those resources as people counseling together, and they created a program that worked for them individually.”

Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, provided the scales and other equipment to measure and weigh the children.

“One of the beautiful things was how the local leaders used ministering as a wonderful way to meet the needs of these families,” she explained. “Those wonderful ministering sisters and brothers had reached out consistently in love, which is a true way of ministering; they were really the embodiment of what we want our members throughout the world to feel when they minister to one another.”

“If we can help parents, mothers, children, overcome this challenge, then they can . . . have a better life,” said Sister Bingham.  

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.