LDS Church and its members aid refugees


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is taking steps to feed the hungry and help people in need as the refugee crisis continues to develop.

The LDS Church recently announced a donation of $2 million to two charitable organizations to help with humanitarian aid during the global refugee crisis.

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of the church, presented the donation to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and International Rescue Committee, two organizations helping refugees build new lives in communities across the U.S.

“We are grateful for these ongoing relationships and for the opportunities they provide to assist in one of the fundamental principles of the gospel — caring for those that may feel like strangers among us,” Bishop Waddell said in a recent church news release. “This includes those who have been driven from their homes and find themselves in new and unfamiliar circumstances.”

The LDS Church also donated funds to a UN food program around Pioneer Day. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the church, presented a $3 million donation to the United Nations’ World Food Programme on behalf of the church during a recent visit to Rome.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with daughter Antje Evans, left, visits with a family at the Piraeus refugee camp in Athens, Greece, July 22, 2016. (© 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

On July 17, President Uchtdorf met with Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the WFP. The donation will be used to provide food to refugees and displaced people in Cameroon, Chad and Syria.

While on his trip to Rome, President Uchtdorf visited many refugees in Greece to understand their current situation. He posted his feeling of his trip on his Facebook page.

President Uchtdorf’s Facebook post about his experience with refugees while in Greece. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf via Facebook)

The First Presidency told church members in their letter dated Oct. 27, 2015, “It is with great concern and compassion that we observe the plight of the millions of people around the world who have fled their homes seeking relief from civil conflict and other hardships.”

Church members from all over North America have been taking action to answer the call of the First Presidency.

Young Latter-day Saints gave of their time and talents to raise money to help refugees settling in Canada’s eastern provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Under the local church’s leadership, 130 youth organized and operated a fundraising activity that included singing and dancing.

Catherine Potter, a Young Women leader in Canada said, “Today the youth spread a message of hope, of love, of unity, of acceptance and of welcoming to our Syrian brothers and sisters.”

Other members of the church have decided to take on mentoring roles for the refugees entering America so refugees will have an easier time adjusting to American culture.

The video below, which is part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “Give Back” series, describes Chantal’s story. This and other videos came about after the First Presidency issued letters in October 2015 and March 2016 encouraging members to help refugees.

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