Upon news breaking of another temple under construction in Utah, many detractors flocked to the comment section on Facebook to speak ill of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many discounting the humanitarian aid efforts of the Church. Here is just a sampling of what was said:
“Maybe instead of building more temples we don’t need, they could build decent housing for the homeless, or make sure there are no children going to bed hungry by donating that money to the school system, for meals, supplies and towards teachers salaries. I could go on and on, but what a waste of money that could actually help the needy and save lives.” – Patty G.
Examples of Humanitarian Aid
In response to the urgent humanitarian crisis unfolding in Sudan, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has committed additional resources ($8.25 million) to help feed and provide core relief items to hundreds of thousands of refugees in the region.
A $4.25 million donation to the World Food Programme (WFP) will supply food rations such as cereals, oil, legumes, supplemental bars and ready-to-eat meals to those living in refugee camps in Sudan and in the bordering countries of South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia and Egypt. An additional $4 million will be provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide shelter and core relief items such as blankets, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and solar lamps.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is supporting early detection efforts by donating medical equipment to two Mexican organizations dedicated to fighting breast cancer.
In recent years, the rates of breast cancer in Mexico have increased significantly. According to data from the Mexican Social Security Institute, as of 2020, breast cancer was the most frequently diagnosed disease and the leading cause of death in women in Mexico, with nearly 30,000 new cases and about 8,000 deaths, as well as an incidence rate of 40.5 and a mortality rate of 10.6 per 100,000.
“Early detection is the fundamental factor for the survival of patients with breast cancer,” explained María Luisa Guisa, general director of FUCAM. She added, “We know that without health there is no life, there is no work, there is no development. … That is why we would like to continue counting on [the Church of Jesus Christ’s] support, so that more women can have access to early detection studies for breast cancer.”
A group of Latter-day Saint young adults recently participated in an effort to help more than 100 homeless individuals find food, clothing and services at Project Connect in Mesa, Arizona. The event on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, was sponsored by Human Services Campus, in collaboration with state, federal and nonprofit partners. Three Young Single Adult (YSA) stakes (similar to a diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted the event at the historic Inter-Stake Center near downtown Mesa, including the Mesa East YSA Stake, Mesa West YSA Stake and Tempe YSA Stake. Project Connect is a one-day traveling resource center held every four to six weeks in various locations across the Phoenix Metro Area.
On August 19, 2023, members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout West Africa joined together for the All Africa Service Project, a coordinated event held every August, to perform acts of service in their communities. Thousands of volunteers from hundreds of congregations were involved in projects in nine countries. Community members were also invited to participate.
Despite heavy rain in many areas, volunteers were not deterred from providing anywhere from two to four hours of service in their communities. One project involving dozens of volunteers required cleaning and sanitizing a community health center in Sierra Leone. Rosalyn Kamara, head of Infection Prevention and Control in Freetown, Sierra Leone, shared her gratitude.
“My faith and belief have been strengthened today by the generous activities of the Church,” said Kamara.
Newsroom features stories from its dozens of websites around the world to show what members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are doing to serve their communities. Today, we feature news from Africa, Belarus, Canada, El Salvador, Indonesia and Peru.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is providing US$10 million to UNICEF, enabling the humanitarian organization to help vulnerable women and children across four countries.
The donation will strengthen health systems in the Central African Republic (CAR), Haiti, Mali and Mozambique. These areas of high maternal and infant mortality are in critical need of improved health infrastructure and human resources to keep mothers and children healthy and safe.
“As Latter-day Saints, it is our joyful privilege to work together in weaving a tapestry of hope and healing for all of God’s children,” said Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson. “We are grateful for our longstanding collaboration with skilled professionals at UNICEF who extend the reach of our helping hands.”
“Through more than 10 years of partnership, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting UNICEF’s mission to reach children around the world with lifesaving health and nutrition services,” said Michael J. Nyenhuis, president and CEO, UNICEF USA. “We are grateful for this generous contribution to help UNICEF scale up routine immunizations for preventable diseases and invest in sustainable health systems to build their resiliency to ongoing and future threats to the survival of mothers and children.”
The global collaboration of the Church and UNICEF began more than a decade ago with a donation for immunizations in Jordan. Other projects include the following:
- Support for maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination (2014–present), which has targeted over 8 million women of reproductive age across nine countries
- Aid for refugees in Europe (2015)
- Scaling up Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs for over 100,000 displaced children and host communities through the Learning for Life partnership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda (2018-present)
- Granting children access to ECD and informed over 40,000 caregivers with child development and caregiving best practices
- A global COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort (2021) through which UNICEF and partners that delivered over 2 billion vaccines in 146 countries
- And, most recently, the prevention and treatment of wasting in children through the global No Time to Waste initiative
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Hawaiian island of Maui are joining neighbors and friends in offering comfort and service in the wake of the deadly wildfires. Five Latter-day Saints died in the fires — four of them from the same family.
The Hawaii National Guard is involved in the recovery process and is assessing damage throughout the island.
Latter-day Saints in Maui are assisting charitable organizations in the recovery. Two meetinghouses in the Kahului and Kahului West Stakes are serving as temporary shelters with water, hot meals and other necessities — all available for anyone, regardless of religious affiliation. Church members are also delivering baby formula, canned food, propane, gasoline and other critical supplies to people in need.
Latter-day Saint families are opening their homes to people displaced by the wildfires. In addition, Church leaders are actively working to secure alternate shelter options.
Supplies from the bishops’ storehouse in Honolulu are en route to Maui. Additional support from Church headquarters will arrive in the coming days.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated more than $106,000 USD to replace and upgrade a bridge over the Kalamu River in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, that was destroyed by torrential rains in December 2022. The Honorable Henriette Wamu, Member of Parliament from Kinshasa’s Funa district, and her foundation also contributed substantial funds to this project.
More than 150 people died, and 500 homes and countless personal possessions were lost during the December 2022 flooding. Houses built on the banks of the Kalamu River were most heavily damaged and several bridges were washed away.
This new bridge will benefit more than 15,000 residents of the Kalamu area of Kinshasa, both members and nonmembers of the Church. It is solidly built with isolated footings, elevated concrete piles, reinforced metal structure, and deck and ramp of reinforced concrete. It can carry heavy vehicles and foot traffic.
Ms. Wamu said, “I praise our partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” and she expressed profound appreciation for the donation. Junior Diazola, Bishop of the Bumbu Ward, said the Church serves the spiritual and physical needs of people without regard to their religious affiliation.
Helping Alleviate Global Malnutrition: Combined US$44 million to help mothers and children in 30 countries
As the world continues to face an unprecedented hunger crisis, more than 3 million children will die this year from malnutrition. And half of all children globally suffer from essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These deficits stunt the growth and potential of the next generation.
“No humanitarian effort is more foundational to Christ’s Church than feeding the hungry,” said Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson. “We are grateful to have the means to collaborate with wonderful organizations and provide relief to children and young mothers in dire need. As we serve together, we extend the reach of Christ’s loving arms.”
Funding that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides to CARE helps women like Belaynesh raise chickens, goats and bees, maintain gardens and improve their children’s diets.
“I’ve noticed [our children are] strong and have a better academic performance,” Belaynesh said. “My neighbors could probably testify that my kids are doing well.”
That wellness will help her children become thriving members of their community.
“We are immensely grateful,” said CARE USA President and CEO Michelle Nunn. “Funding from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allows us to scale up our work in countries like Ethiopia and Ghana and improve the well-being of thousands more children and their families impacted by food insecurity and malnutrition.”
To reach more children in Ethiopia and many other countries, The Church of Jesus Christ is giving US$44 million to support the wide-ranging global hunger relief efforts of CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Hellen Keller Intl, The Hunger Project and several other organizations. This is in addition to last year’s donations to the World Food Programme ($32 million) and UNICEF’s No Time to Waste initiative ($5 million).
The happy chatter of 100 plus children playing and laughing together attest that their community home in Apia, Samoa is aptly named “The House of Hope.” These children have not always lived in such comfortable or pleasant environments as they are all survivors of violence and abuse and have been removed from dangerous circumstances to be brought to this place of safety and love.
Lina Chang is the driving force behind protecting these beautiful children and giving them back their childhoods. She saw a need and stepped up 18 years ago to offer a lifeline to kids who needed to be sheltered. She began helping one child at a time until the House of Hope has now grown into a village that can accommodate and meet the needs of about 110 children. There is also a house on the premises for women who are fleeing domestic violence.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other organisations have partnered to help Lina Chang along the way.
She said, “From the beginning, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came forward. The Church believed in helping the children. Back when no one was talking about it and nobody wanted to know that it was happening, the Church believed me and helped.”
Monthly operating costs at the House of Hope are supplemented by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Often the Church will bring us extra food and cover some of our immediate needs. They even came and helped us to start a veggie garden to ensure that our children have healthy food to eat,” Chang said.
In addition, a van was recently donated by the Church to help Chang, the volunteers, and House of Hope staff take kids to medical appointments and to court appearances.
“The Van will be so helpful. We have needed a way to transport the children, and this will make all the difference,” Chang said, gratefully.
In southeast Peru, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (MIDIS) are improving the health of young students. Through the Qali Warma National School Feeding Program, the two organizations have collaborated to donate 34 organic gardens to schools in two provinces.
This donation is just one of the fruits of an important inter-institutional work agreement between the Church of Jesus Christ and MIDIS. The two organizations recently worked together to distribute eyeglasses to students and the elderly.
One of the new projects consists in distributing bottled water to the populations affected by the earthquakes. With the infrastructures destroyed and the high temperatures typical of the summer, this is a much-needed relief. A total of five million bottles of 1.5 liters will be distributed over two months. The first of six daily trucks were loaded with 16,800 water bottles on June 19, 2023, in the city of Malatya, where there is a natural spring water source. These trucks will deliver the bottled water to different warehouses of AFAD in four cities that are in the main affected areas – Adiyaman, Hatay, Kahramanmaras and Malatya. From there the water is then distributed to the camps where thousands of families are currently living.
The grand opening ceremony for the International African American Museum (IAAM) was held on Saturday, June 24, 2023. The museum is built on a portion of the former Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina — an important spot in American history.
The museum, which opens to the public on June 27, contains a Center for Family History, supported by FamilySearch International of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2019, the Church of Jesus Christ donated $2 million to help build the center — an important resource for the study and advancement of African American genealogy, with connections to Africa and the African diaspora.
“One of the things I’ve really appreciated about the relationship with the Church is that the Center for Family History has become the not-so-hidden gem of the museum,” Matthews said. “We get as many questions about the center itself as we do about all the other galleries and objects and artifacts. Connected with that expertise, that really valuing of individual stories, we tell a big picture, a story of nations, of communities. But to have partners [like the Church] that also value the stories of individuals and are earnestly connected to helping people find their own stories — it’s going to be an invaluable steadying space for us as we ride the waves of our growth.”
On March 27, 2023, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated ophthalmic equipment to the new Talin Regional Ophthalmic Diagnostic Clinic in Armenia. This clinic was opened through cooperation between the Armenian Ophthalmology Project (HAN), the Talin Medical Center and the Church of Jesus Christ.
HAN Director Nune Yeghiazaryan expressed her gratitude for the Church’s support and explained the impact this donation will have.
“This clinic is a part of a vision preservation program that was launched in 2015 in the regions of Armenia where they are most needed,” said Yeghiazaryan. “We have already established five ophthalmology centers equipped for diagnosis and surgical intervention.”
As many as 40,000 citizens living in Talin and the surrounding Aragatsotn area will use the new clinic in the coming decade. Early diagnosis and laser capabilities will help eliminate preventable blindness. Free vision screening, diagnostics and laser treatment will be available to patients who would not otherwise receive timely treatment due to distance and cost.
Throughout much of March 2023, people in Southeast Africa, including the people of Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi, braced themselves as Cyclone Freddy — the longest-lasting tropical cyclone ever recorded at 36 days, impacted the region. Rainfall in the region totaled 400mm to 800 mm (16 to 31 inches). Flooding and mudslides swept away villages, destroying homes and crops. Public infrastructure such as schools, health facilities and main roads were damaged in Blantyre, the second-largest city in Malawi, and surrounding communities.
This natural disaster displaced over 80,000 households in southern Malawi and led to at least 1,000 deaths.
In the wake of this devastating cyclone, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints immediately went to work to provide tents, blankets, sleeping mats, mobile clinic services, mobile toilets, water treatment chemicals, maize, corn soya blend and cooking oil. The value of this donation is US$100,000. In collaboration with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, supplies were delivered to provide relief.
After the intensity of the storm faded, President Chinomwe, a regional leader of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Blantyre District in Malawi, opened four meetinghouses to provide temporary shelter to over 230 community members who had lost their homes. He said that they did not distinguish between members and friends of the Church but accepted all in need until they reached capacity.
Humanitarian aid from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Morocco is blessing the lives of students with special needs, adults with autism and children with cancer. Here is a look at three projects currently being facilitated by Church volunteers Roger and Sandra Carter, who are looking for ways to bless the lives of people who might otherwise be overlooked by society.
Support for Children with Cancer
One of the humanitarian grants from the Church will provide equipment for a home in which children with cancer can stay while receiving treatment at a local hospital. Each child who comes to L’Avenir Cancer Center can be accompanied by a parent. Those served at the cancer center are some of the poorest in Morocco and often come from remote villages. Each year, the center supports as many as 2,500 families during a very difficult time in their lives.
Nearly 400 hundred teens from 50 high schools gathered at a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Aliso Viejo, California, on Saturday, April 29, 2023, to assemble 50,000 packets of instant oatmeal for people in need.
The project was sponsored by JustServe (a free, Church-created community service platform) as part of Global Youth Service Day, an initiative sponsored by Youth Service America (YSA). Funding came from YSA, the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, The Habit Burger Grill and other private donors. Harvest Pack, a nonprofit focused on hunger relief, provided tools and food supplies to prepare the meals.
Nineteen public education institutions in the communities of Santa María Cahabón and Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, located more than 300 km (about 186 miles) from Guatemala City, now have school furniture for the 2023 school year.
The furniture, donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will benefit 1,750 students and 70 teachers who resumed face-to-face classes this year, following restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mynor Torres, representative of the Ministry of Education, thanked the Church for the donation, adding that this is the fourth time the schools of Cahabón have been recipients of the organization’s generosity. He also highlighted how grateful he was that their request was fulfilled within about two months.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is collaborating with the nonprofit LifeMoves to support the opening of a 240-bed facility for people experiencing homelessness in the San Francisco Bay area. The goal of this innovative $55 million navigation center in Redwood City, California, is to assist those in need to return to long-term stable housing.
Navigation centers provide a dignified place to stay for individuals experiencing homelessness while they receive all the services necessary to help them on their way back into long-term stable housing, employment and self-sufficiency.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the center was held on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Aubrey Merriman, CEO of LifeMoves, said this new building will benefit people from all walks of life.
“Families, veterans, elderly, children — you know that you’re doing important work when you see children who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness,” Merriman said. “There are people that are one sort of speed bump away from a health issue, a loss of job, falling off a sobriety track. But for the grace of a higher power, that could be us, right?”
In coordination with a group of local congregations, the Church has provided a large grant to help furnish the new facility with bedding, pillows, towels, welcome mats, laundry baskets, alarm clocks, toiletries and other personal items. In addition, around 150 local Latter-day Saints stepped up to volunteer on two different weekends in March and April to organize these items and then set them up in each room.
In the suburbs of Munich, more than 170 young men, women and senior couples gathered at a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse — all of them missionary volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The missionaries serve in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission. They were here for two reasons. The first was to hear from an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who stopped in Munich as part of his ministry to four countries in Europe and Africa. The second reason was to answer his call for volunteers.
“We love God and we love our fellow men. And this is a way that we can show that,” Elder Rasband said.
After addressing the missionaries, Elder Rasband ushered them outside, where three white tents were set up to protect them from gray skies.
Inside, a buzz of activity got underway as Elder Rasband stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Elders and Sisters — the formal title used by missionaries during their 18–24-month, full-time service — folding washcloths into bags in a human assembly line in which the end products were neatly packed toiletry bags with a variety of essentials. Elsewhere, missionaries were stacking boxes onto pallets and loading them onto a commercial truck — most of them destined to aid earthquake survivors in Türkiye and Syria.
“We’re going to deliver them to the Turkish consulate so that they can be sent to the places where they’re needed the most,” Elder Rasband explained.
“To date, the Church has contributed (US)$13.5 million of funding and goods to help in this relief effort.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating $1 million to provide food and water for people in the country of Kenya, which is struggling through a three-year drought.
Elder Ian S. Ardern, General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the Africa Central Area presidency, recently traveled to Katatek, on Kenya’s southern border with Tanzania. There he oversaw distribution of 1,000 containers with enough food to sustain families of six for up to four weeks.
The March 16 event marked the first step of the Church’s donation of 40,000 containers of food over the next month to 240,000 people living in four drought-stricken counties of Kenya, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
The Church is working with the Red Cross and the Kenyan national government to purchase, transport and distribute the food.
Rebecca Miano, Cabinet secretary in the Ministry of the East African Community for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, thanked the Church for the donations.
“We are here today because our brothers and sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have graciously heeded our calls,” Miano said. “Indeed, the Bible in the Book of James [chapter] 2, calls for us to practice faith in action. Caring for vulnerable people and the hungry is one of the ways we can be true to the scriptures.”
Last year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued its efforts to live the two great commandments.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” and “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” Jesus teaches in the Bible.
The Church’s new 2022 annual report on caring for those in need shows that this work included more than $1 billion in expenditures, 6.3 million hours volunteered and 3,692 humanitarian projects in 190 countries and territories.
“Please continue to pray for us,” pled a 42-year-old widow whose husband was killed by rebels in front of their six children because they suspected him of cooperating with the Congolese government.
More than 500 volunteers, including current players, legends, partners and guests from the National Basketball Association (NBA), gathered at several locations in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday, February 17, 2023, to participate in hands-on service projects. These projects are helping to alleviate food insecurity and provide essential items for those in need across Northern and Central Utah. Locations included the Utah Bishops’ Central Storehouse, Utah Food Bank and Volunteers of America. The projects are part of the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service 2023 activities.
Former NBA player Shawn Marion said, “I’m putting some beef stew into these boxes right now. We’ve got to feed some families. This is pretty awesome, man. I love it.” He continued, “I don’t mind this stuff at all. When you’ve been truly blessed and [are] in a position to give back, why not.”
New Zealanders are dealing with the aftermath of Gabrielle, a severe tropical cyclone that reached a Category 3 on February 6, 2023. Several days of heavy rain and high winds in the storm’s path have caused loss of life and major damage to properties in several parts of the island nation.
“We are praying for those who have suffered loss of family members, and of property,” said Elder K. Brett Nattress, President of the Pacific Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We add to these prayers our helping hands, alongside the relief work of many others, to bring assistance and hope to those impacted by this cyclone.”
Members and missionaries are working with neighbors, community and government groups going door-to-door to clean up neighborhoods impacted by devastation.
Family Gardens, Rural Clinic Renovations and Nightly Efforts to Feed the Hungry: Service from Latter-day Saints Around the World
Family garden kits curb malnutrition in Ecuador, Church members complete renovations to a rural health clinic in Fiji, and free meals are provided nightly to the underprivileged in Zurich.
Living on the island of Maui means beautiful views, beaches, peaks, pools and waterfalls. But Hawaii is an expensive state to live in, and food costs have increased with inflation. Many of the jobs are in the lower-paying service or tourism industries — and more Church members have sought assistance to make ends meet.
Bishops’ storehouses are where those in need can go to obtain food and other supplies at the recommendation of their bishop. The storehouse is filled with food and supplies paid for by fast offerings and other donations from members of the Church.
But about 100 miles of ocean separates Maui from the nearest bishops’ storehouse, in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. Because of this, the Church launched the Maui Satellite Bishops’ Storehouse in September 2022.
Members and leaders of the Church hope this service will be a tool for ministering to those in need while also helping them learn and apply principles of self-reliance.
Hundreds of children and adults will benefit from 575 specialized wheelchairs and 189 canes, walkers and crutches The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered on Friday, January 27, 2023, to Fundabiem Guatemala.
Fundabiem provides comprehensive habilitation and rehabilitation services to Guatemalans. The wheelchairs, which are adjusted to each person’s needs, will help patients with physical disabilities in Fundabiem’s 19 rehabilitation centers gain mobility and self-sufficiency.
Shirly C. is one of those recipients. Until now, she has used a borrowed wheelchair that does not fit her needs. She expressed her deep gratitude to God and the Church of Jesus Christ for this gift.
“I want to keep going and show what I can do,” Shirly said. “This wheelchair will be the instrument that will allow me to achieve my goals.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the interdenominational charitable organization Women of Faith worked together to help 820 households affected by sudden torrential rains the night of 12-13 December 2022 in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
With financial backing from the Church, Women of Faith organized and distributed food and emergency supplies to about 820 survivors.
Mrs. Nadine Banze, national coordinator of Women of Faith for DR Congo, conveyed her sympathy to all the victims of this natural disaster and welcomed the assistance of full-time missionaries from the Church. Also, she thanked the Church for funding for this project, which will give a smile to the victims and help them to hang on.
Natural disaster victims in California, Alabama and Georgia receive food, supplies, service and comfort.
A donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aims to decrease the number of birth asphyxia incidents in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Guerrero.
Birth asphyxia occurs when a baby does not begin breathing after birth. According to the World Health Organization, this is one of the leading causes of death in newborns, accounting for about 900,000 deaths worldwide every year.
The donation included equipment and training for doctors and nurses on newborn resuscitation, as well as training related to caring for mothers after they give birth. It is estimated that in the first year, this training and donated equipment could potentially save 300 lives.
Dr. José Manuel Cruz Castellanos, secretary of health and general director of the Chiapas State Health Institute, and Dr. Leticia Jarquin Estrada, director of public health for the State of Chiapas, both attended the official event to formalize the donation.
Dr. Jarquin acknowledged the presence of the doctors and nurses receiving the training and said, “We are grateful for this donation, which will save many lives.”
What started as a donation of 20 greenhouses in 2014 has grown into a much larger collaboration between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Muslim Aid. To date, about 2,720 greenhouses have been donated to families in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 2014, when the unemployment rate hovered at about 27% of the country’s population, the Church of Jesus Christ determined that it would be most effective to partner with a highly reputable charity like Muslim Aid to start the greenhouse project.
For 34-year-old Haris Alajbegovic, the greenhouse project has given him the peace of mind that he will have healthy food, free of pesticides, to feed his family, including his two children. “That’s priceless,” he says.
Thousands of new and expectant mothers in Kenya are benefiting from the World Food Programme’s (WFP) super cereal and other supplements that provide calories, as well as vital proteins and vitamins. These provide critical boosts to the immune system and help form protective walls against anemia. (Video here)
Super cereal, a highly fortified blend of corn, soybeans, dried skim milk and sweetener, is made into a porridge by the women supported by WFP’s distribution. “It’s evident from the mothers that once they start taking the porridge there’s enough milk flow,” said Deka Hassan, a nutritionist at the government-sponsored hospital in Garissa, a growing town of nearly half a million people in eastern Kenya. “The baby is healthy, the mother is happy, and that means the community is happy also.”
This malnutrition treatment is supplied by WFP and funded by collaborators such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church gave US$32 million to WFP last September to support the UN agency’s operations across nine countries — including Kenya. As reported in December 2022, the donation is also helping refugees find food, shelter and peace.
The donation allowed WFP to expand the nutritional treatment from 8 to 15 counties to bless more than 365,000 children and 170,000-plus pregnant and lactating women.
Fatima is one of those mothers. During an interview in early December 2022 at the Ifo Refugee Camp, she said, “When I take the porridge, I’m able to get breastmilk, [with] which I’m able to breastfeed my baby. So, my family brings me joy. I am happy with my kids, and for now we are all healthy.”
In the country of Uruguay, where breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women, the tools needed to diagnose this disease can save lives. Recently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated a digitizer for mammograms to the José Royol Public Health Center in Rivera. This will allow the center to perform 180 monthly preventive exams for breast cancer.
“I want to thank The Church of Jesus Christ,” said Dr. María Rosario Leira, the primary care network director. “Until now we have done mammograms with a very old method that was very complex and is practically not used anymore. With this new equipment, operating expenses are reduced by 40%, which adds to the advantages of preventing the scourge of breast cancer.”
Dr. Leonardo Cipriani, national director of the State Health Services Administration, also expressed his gratitude for the donation.
“I am very grateful to the Church of Jesus Christ for all the donations and, most importantly, for the spirit of collaboration that you always have. You all give without looking for a reward and only out of love for your neighbor.”
In September 2022, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave WFP US$32 million — a donation made possible the generosity of everyday Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith.
Sarah Borchers, head of WFP’s Dadaab office, says the Church’s donation is “invaluable.” According to WFP reports, the Dadaab camps’ acute malnutrition rates range from 5% to more than 13%.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is giving US$10 million to help eradicate polio in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and a select number of African countries. Funding will also help eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in 13 remaining African countries and other areas where the disease is endemic.
Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, said, “Rotary is grateful for this very generous contribution from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The funding comes at a critical time for polio eradication efforts and will help protect children from lifelong paralysis due to the poliovirus.”
The bishops’ storehouse at Welfare Square is one of 124 bishops’ storehouses in operation worldwide. At bishops’ storehouses, individuals in need work with their local leaders to receive food and other items free of charge.
The Church operates 32 farms, ranches, orchards and processing facilities, which produced over 100 million pounds of food last year, according to the Church’s 2021 annual report. Approximately 36 million pounds were distributed to bishops’ storehouses, while 44 million pounds were donated through community initiatives.
Food insecurity is a pressing issue for the Cheyenne River Reservation in north-central South Dakota, especially as inflation increases food costs. A recent delivery of two semi-trucks full of food from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means hundreds of families have a boost during the holidays.
The food arrived at the Cheyenne River Youth Project — an Eagle Butte-based, Native-led nonprofit organization that provides youth programs and family services on the reservation. Missionaries from the North Dakota Bismarck Mission helped unload the pallets and organize the food, creating more than 350 food boxes.
Cheyenne River Youth Project Executive Director Julie Garreau said the food was high quality and delicious.
“I got a card back from someone the next day saying, ‘Thank you for making my holiday.’” Garreau said. “People were so grateful. It gave them a boost during the holiday season.”
Garreau was grateful for the help from the missionaries. She said her organization has a small staff, and it would have taken them a lot longer to get all the work done.
The Church has supported the Cheyenne River community in the past with other food donations.
“We created a partnership and a friendship,” Garreau said. “It’s really about the Church helping a community that needs help.”
As nonprofit organizations and faith-based groups in the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia work to serve their communities, they are finding out they can be stronger together as they collaborate and share resources.
On September 29, a diverse group of these community organizations gathered in one spot for the inaugural “Community Connect and Serve,” hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Representatives of nearly 40 nonprofit groups from Clarke and Frederick Counties and the city of Winchester set up booths in the Winchester Virginia Stake center and shared information with each other and with the public.
The collaboration was sponsored by JustServe — a website and app where community groups can list their volunteer needs — Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley, Valley Health, and the Nonprofit Alliance of the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
For the first two hours, exhibitors were able to connect and share best practices with each other before opening the doors to the public. This was helpful for Jeffrey Stern, director of community engagement at Sinclair Health Clinic.
“It was terrific. I enjoyed the opportunity to network with organizations I know well, and those I didn’t know before,” Stern said.
Valley Health’s director of community health, Jason Craig, also spoke about the collaboration and connections made from the inaugural effort.
“This was a wonderful event that was successful through the collaboration of a community that cares about the people that live in it,” Craig said. “Organizations were able to connect, many expressing that they learned about their friends and allies in the community, and the JustServe volunteer network came out to learn and align their desire to serve.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Memphis’s 38126 ZIP code to announce the launch of MyBaby4Me — a program with classes to help new and expectant mothers.
“This partnership is God ordained and God inspired,” said NAACP Memphis Branch President Van Turner. “I’m just so happy that it’s happening at such a critical time in our city. We’re dealing with public safety, we’re dealing with homelessness, we’re dealing with poverty. [It’s critical to address] the origin of humanity, when these young people are in the womb, and try to make sure they get the proper care while in the womb [and then] come out and survive and be healthy. Once that happens, they have a great start in life. That solves and resolves those other issues. So, I’m so happy to be partnered with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and all our other partners because this is really a great endeavor.”
This is the second humanitarian collaboration between the NAACP and the Church of Jesus Christ since Prophet and President Russell M. Nelson in 2021 pledged US$2 million a year for three years to fund these projects. The inaugural undertaking last month focused on improving a community farm in San Francisco.
On Saturday, November 19, 2022, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated 3,000 frozen turkeys and 40 tons of nonperishable food in the Boston area. With the help of Catholic Charities Boston and the Azusa Christian Community, the food was delivered to those who need it most this Thanksgiving.
Three semitrucks of food from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City arrived in Boston on that Saturday. A thousand turkeys were delivered to Catholic Charities Boston to help them in their distribution of 1,400 Thanksgiving meals to households in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood. The Church has given several truckloads of food to Catholic Charities Boston this year.
The other 2,000 turkeys, along with the 40 tons of food, were unloaded at a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in Newton, Massachusetts. About 400 volunteers spent their Saturday unloading the food and repackaging it into 2,000 food kits. Members of the Azusa Christian Community — a nonprofit run by the Rev. Eugene Rivers and his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Rivers — picked up the repackaged provisions and distributed them to those in need in Boston, Malden and Springfield.
The infant mortality rate for babies born to African American women in the United States is more than twice that of infants born to white mothers in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Native American and Pacific Islander communities face comparable circumstances.
As part of an effort to address maternal health issues in vulnerable communities, Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson recently ministered to new and expectant mothers during a citywide baby shower in Chicago, Illinois.
About 400 mothers attended the Chicago Citywide Community Baby Shower on Saturday, Nov. 5, held at the Imani Village community center on the city’s South Side.
The baby shower was organized by Hustle Mommies and the Urban Mom Collective in collaboration with the Rev. Dr. Que English, director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mothers who attended were connected with local community and government resources — including prenatal care and mental health services — and learned about self-care during and after childbirth and support services offered by doulas and midwives. They received diapers, baby strollers, clothing, baby bottles, car seats and other essentials donated by the Church. Heidi Murkoff, author and creator of the What to Expect Project, also attended.
“These opportunities to work with our friends in government and community are so important for us to touch the lives of [individuals],” President Johnson said. “We look at things globally, but we must also look at the needs of the one. Today was a sweet opportunity to minister one by one.”
LaShawn Thomas, an expectant mother, described the community baby shower as a blessing. “I saw it [advertised on social media], and it was last minute, but it was amazing. I came and I had nothing, but I have so much now. I think it’s great for us expectant mothers to look forward to something.”
The Church is supporting similar efforts in other U.S. cities. For example, in New York City, the Church is providing funding to train doulas for mothers in vulnerable communities.
In collaboration with the Rwanda Biomedical Center and National Council of People with Disability (NCPD), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closed a 4-day wheelchair delivery and training event on 20 October 2022, in Kigali, Rwanda.
The objective was to train local physiotherapists on how to assess people with disabilities to match them with the most suitable wheelchairs and other assistive devices (crutches, white canes). The hospital technicians were also trained in assembling wheelchairs and repair of damaged wheelchairs. The total project cost was approximately $400,000.
Executive Secretary of NCPD Emmanuel Ndayisaba said, “The Latter-day Saints have given us wheelchairs of the finest quality and have vowed to supply enough for our people in need. They have showed us a heart of generosity.”
In its ongoing efforts to help provide shelter and services for Utah’s homeless, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided $3.3 million in donations to assist five Utah-based nonprofit organizations.
Laurie G. Hopkins, executive director of Shelter the Homeless, expressed appreciation for the partnership in serving the community’s most vulnerable.
“This donation will aid us with winter temporary housing efforts to provide the unsheltered a warm bed and will also fund ongoing operations of the homeless resource centers, specifically to ensure the health, safety, and security of the staff, guests, and the surrounding community,” she said.
In only a few hours, the group installed an irrigation system at the Florence Fang Community Farm. This system will help the growing farm, now in its eighth year, continue to provide fresh food to a diverse and underserved community that inhabits a food desert. Importantly, the farm can now do so in a water-wise way.
Jonathan Butler, the second vice president of the NAACP San Francisco Branch, said such service is critical to solve the “division and isolation that is happening in our communities that is a detriment to our own health and well-being.”
“Love is the essence of what we’re doing,” Butler said. “We love ourselves, and then we love each other. And that is under the umbrella of loving God.”
About 12,000 people in the war-ravaged region of Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will receive food and other critical supplies thanks to a donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church collaborated with humanitarian organization Women of Faith to purchase emergency supplies worth about US$300,000 and distribute them to families and individuals affected by the conflict in the eastern region of the DRC this year.
General Ekenge, the advisor to the governor in charge of humanitarian actions said, “We welcome this act of solidarity done by Women of Faith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in this difficult period of war in this part of DRC.
“There is no greater gesture of love than to think of those who are suffering. The national and provincial governments are fighting day and night to do everything possible to bring this war to an end. We thank the organization and its donor. We ask other people of goodwill to think of the displaced persons who are still suffering in different locations.”
Uwamahoro Florence, one of the older adults who received assistance through this project, said, “Eight months after my displacement from my village (Jomba), my family and I were not able to feed ourselves properly due to lack of resources. We thank the Women of Faith organization and its donor The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have come to help us with food. May our God bless them. The aid we received enabled us to respond to our basic needs, including food and non-food items.”
Uwimana Biraro Josephine said, “It was difficult for my three children and I to find what to eat, but the assistance of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Women of Faith have given us back a smile and hope that we lost for a while.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made significant donations to five Family Health Centers (CESFAMs) in Chile. These donations, consisting of diagnostic and treatment equipment, will improve the primary care provided by these municipal health centers.
Additionally, Church members are answering calls for disaster assistance through a crisis cleanup hotline. In just the last week, 750 Latter-day Saints answered more than 13,000 calls.
“It’s exciting and it’s emotional,” said Penny Taylor, Collier County District 4 commissioner, during a visit to the command center in Naples on Saturday, October 8. “You’re here to help us. It’s that human touch that is so needed right now.”
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.
Since November 2020, the Church of Jesus Christ has donated some 1 million pounds of food to the Black 14 Philanthropy.
Since November 2020, the Church of Jesus Christ has donated some 1 million pounds of food to the Black 14 Philanthropy. Food has gone to Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wyoming.
“This [moment] is an extraordinary snapshot in time for entities that were miles apart and now there’s nothing between us but good,” John Griffin said. “That’s what is important to me. … We have more time behind us than we have left in front of us. We’re trying to do the best we can for the time we have remaining, whatever that is. And that’s why we’re in this relationship together [with the Church].”
Church responds to Hurricane Fiona’s devastation in the Caribbean, $475K approved to aid 65,000 affected families in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.
The humanitarian services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have activated a series of actions to help authorities and community organizations cope with the situation and mitigate the damage caused by this natural phenomenon.
Help has been provided to aid about 65,000 affected families on the French island of Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. The aid seeks to provide food, water, hygiene items and other emergency supplies, as well as human assistance through Helping Hands volunteers, through which cleaning and debris removal will be carried out, as well as the distribution of supplies. The Church will continue to provide additional relief and assistance.
In addition to its direct actions, the Church will provide support through organizations to 17 emotional resilience centers operated through the international Mercy Corps organization in Puerto Rico where water, food, and other essential emergency supplies will also be provided.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a US$5 million donation to UNICEF’s newly launched “No Time to Waste” global malnutrition campaign. The contribution will help malnourished children who are five years old and younger in up to 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Middle East and the Philippines.
Up to 41 million children currently suffering from malnutrition could be impacted in the first year of programming.
“This support represents a significant new stage of our partnership, building on nine years of impact for children and investments towards lifesaving programs. The time for action on child wasting is now, and together we won’t stop until every child is healthy,” said Michael J. Nyenhuis, president and CEO of UNICEF USA.
“We never had electricity. We used flashlights and kerosene lanterns. The generator was costing us $20 per day to fill up the gas to last for six hours,” Hutchinson-Lovell said. “Now that I can turn on the porch light, it keeps my kids safe at night when they come home late. It feels good.”
“It’s a small group and about 100 people affected — but are we our brother’s keeper? I think we are,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s one or two or a thousand or 29 homes. When we are here, we see the need, and that’s what we need to do.”
Tatan Sutam Dur’s left leg was amputated a year ago because of a circulation disease. The 42-year-old father of two children, who lives in a village in the Garut district, hasn’t been able to work.
He was one of about 500 people who received a prosthetic limb through a collaboration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation and Yayasan Peduli Tuna Daksa, which translates as Limb for the Limbless Center, in several places in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Church’s Indonesia Newsroom shared.
With his prosthetic leg, Dur can resume working as a carpenter.
“I am deeply grateful to everyone whose charity enabled me to receive this prosthetic limb,” Dur said when he received it in August.
In its largest one-time donation to a humanitarian organization to date, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave $32 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The donation will help provide food and critical assistance to 1.6 million people in nine countries.
“Private sector support is critical to our mission, enabling WFP to scale food assistance and resilience work that brings families stability and comfort during these challenging times,” World Food Program USA president and CEO Barron Segar said. “I am confident that the Church’s gift will inspire others to join our movement to end global hunger.”
Flood survivor Mary Sue Stacy in Dwarf, Kentucky, wrote of her gratitude for Helping Hands volunteers from Akron, Ohio, who went to her home.
“They cleaned up all the debris and destruction in my yard and parking area,” she said. “This wonderful group of people have given me inspiration to start again. My daughter and I are so very grateful for the kindness Helping Hands has shown us.”
The Church of Jesus Christ sent five semitruck loads of food and supplies within a week after the flooding. Latter-day Saint volunteers joined with local firefighters and members of the Kentucky National Guard to unload the trucks and begin the massive cleanup efforts in early August.
The deliveries included more than 85,000 bottles of water, more than 3,600 five-gallon plastic buckets of cleaning supplies, food for more than 10,500 meals and 600 pounds of clothing.
UNICEF is a United Nations agency focused on supporting the well-being of children and promoting the rights of children globally, and UNICEF USA promotes that mission.
Rachel Steinberg, the managing director for global cause partnerships at UNICEF USA, works with donors, supporters and partners like the Church of Jesus Christ and other faith-based organizations.
“One of the things that we have appreciated so much about our partnership with [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is that they have come to us and said, ‘What are the forgotten crises that need attention and support?’” Steinberg said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is helping fund these efforts in Ghana. Megan Nykyforchyn-Clark, senior director of new business development with The Hunger Project, told the Church News about the collaboration.
“We are so thankful for the investment [of the Church] that encourages community members like Naomi and Patience to become more self-reliant,” she said. “We value this partnership and our shared approaches which invest in individuals and families’ dignity and ability to care for themselves and their households.”
Elder Soares presented a donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support the educational needs and personal development of young women aged 11-18 years being cared for by Le Bon Pasteur (The Good Shepherd) shelter and children aged 3-11 years in the care of Te Maru Pererau shelter.
The North America Southeast Area facilitated a Church gift comprising of 3,800 hygiene kits for the athletes housed in university dormitories, 15,000 water bottles for athletes and coaches, and 25 large first aid kits for the venues.
“It’s no doubt that God was in the details,” The World Games community engagement and volunteer coordinator Kathy Boswell said.
Before the close of the 11-day competition, The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers and Boswell met with Elder Millington and his wife, Kathleen; President Joel B. and Sister Rose K. Chibota of the Alabama Birmingham Mission; President Sadler and his wife, Tony; Norris; and Piennette to discuss the Church’s immense support and gracious gift.
“Seriously, said Sellers, “I cannot stress this enough, we could not have pulled this off without y’all.”
From helping refugees to clean-water projects, self-reliance courses and disaster relief, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members took part in 3,909 humanitarian projects in 188 countries in 2021, an increase from the previous year.
This outreach included $906 million from the Church and 6.8 million hours of volunteer work by everyday Latter-day Saints, according to the 2021 annual report of caring released on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.