By MICHELLE COXEY
The LDS Welfare System has provided the world with $200 million in humanitarian goods and services over the last ten years, said a Welfare System representative.
In a meeting with the Agronomy Club, Brent Chugg, manager of production for the LDS Welfare System said the welfare system recognizes the responsibility the church has in taking care of the poor and the needy.
“The rest of the world looks at our church to accommodate their humanitarian needs,” Chugg said. “We have been told through countless prophets through the ages that we are to care for the needy.”
Chugg said the church has 100 farms, 100 storehouses and 80 canneries to distribute different commodities to the needy. It also has a sort center which has distributed 8.5 million pounds of clothes to several countries throughout the world.
“Now that we have become a worldwide church, we have the responsibility to care for the poor and needy of the world,” Chugg said.
A year and a half ago, Chugg was asked by President Hinckley to travel with Elder Sorensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy to North Korea. They were asked to verify that supplies sent by the church during the famine were received.
Chugg and Elder Sorensen were the first two representatives to enter the country since communism was reinstated, Chugg said.
Chugg and Elder Sorensen brought 500 apple trees to North Korea which would provide long-term help. He said the focus of the welfare system is to help immediately with life-sustaining aid, then to try to correct the problem for the future.
Chugg said it was miraculous when the North Koreans expressed appreciation for their aid. He said his and Elder Sorensen’s visit opened the door to other humanitarian aid provided by the church.
Chugg said he is appreciative of all the volunteers who provide their services each year.
“Without the volunteerism, it wouldn’t be possible to do a tenth of what we do in the world,” he said.
Merrill Dibble, 20, a junior from Layton majoring in agribusiness, said he has been an employee at the welfare farm in Layton for several years.
Though he did get paid, Dibble said, he tried to balance his work with opportunities to volunteer by punching off the clock whenever volunteer groups would come.