News Release

Sister Eubank Discusses Role of Faith in Disasters During G20 Interfaith Forum

Latter-day Saint Charities mounts its largest response to food crisis

Latter-day Saint Charities (LDSC) mounted the largest response in its 35-year history to COVID-19 and the associated food crisis,” said Sister Sharon Eubank, president of the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the closing plenary session of the Group of 20 (G20) Interfaith Forum, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


So far this year, there have been 895 projects in 150 countries. The numbers were released by Church President Russell M. Nelson during the October general conference.

Sister Eubank, who is also the first counselor in the Church’s Relief Society General Presidency, participated in the plenary session from her Utah home because of the pandemic on Saturday, October 17, 2020. 

The topic of the virtual event, held on the final day of the forum, was the “commitment of faith networks to disaster risk reduction.” 

Sister Eubank reported that the latest figures from the United Nations indicate 265 million people are now facing acute food insecurity because of a severe locust infestation at the end of last year, the rapid onset of the COVID-19 global recession and public safety measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“This is almost double what it was last year,” she stated. “Without being too alarmist, if we do not address this crisis in a coordinated manner, it is projected to grow to be among the worst famines in human history.” 

Event organizers said religious organizations have helped preserve human dignity, raised morale and built partnerships with local authorities to address the pandemic.

“Almost without exception, each project draws on trusted relationships with governments, communities, and other faiths,” said Sister Eubank during her remarks while participating in a panel discussion. “These relationships have been developing over a long period of time.” 

When the supply chain was disrupted during the pandemic, Sister Eubank said that LDSC, as well as grassroots citizens, college students and others, purchased milk, potatoes and other raw products that were being discarded by farmers because schools and restaurants were not buying those goods. 

“LDSC bought tons of potatoes and shipped them out to food pantries across the country,” she said. “Surplus potatoes and milk were dehydrated for transport to other places. The old network was creative, the new partnerships were nimble, and it worked.” 

Sister Eubank said funds donated by people who participated in a worldwide fast announced in April by President Nelson “facilitated hundreds of thousands of meals for hungry people.” 

Finally, she suggested that policy makers include faith leaders in local efforts to prepare for emergencies. 

“Faith is as essential as food,” she concluded. 

Others forum participants included moderator Dr. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, former member of the Shura Council in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and former executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Dr. Amal Al Habdan, vice-rector for academic support and student services at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University; Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, president of the Islamic Development Bank Group; Andrew Morley, president and CEO of World Vision International; Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, House of Lords, UK; and  Fadlullah Wilmot, regional program manager for the Middle East and Africa for Muslim Aid. 

Elder David A. Bednar of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke during the G20 forum earlier this week on the role of religion during the COVID-19 crisis.

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.