In the Bible, James talks about pure religion, which (summarized) is visiting the less fortunate and lifting them up.  This is the essence of humanitarian efforts throughout the world and according to James what religion should be all about.

As a member, I give 10% of my income towards tithing and an additional 5-10% towards what we call fast offerings or humanitarian efforts. During Priesthood Meeting this past Saturday, Bishop Burton gave information on the humanitarian efforts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   I was touched deeply as I saw the impact the LDS church has had for good in the world and felt honored to have donated a fraction of the money for such good causes.  It was also good to see that the LDS church teams up with other organizations such as the Red Cross to help those who are less fortunate in the world to have a greater impact.  I will include some highlights and information regarding the humanitarian efforts of the LDS Church. 

Humanitarian Efforts

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides relief and development projects for humanitarian purposes in countries all over the world. Projects operate without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients.
  • Humanitarian service may include emergency response to natural disasters, such as an earthquake or a tsunami, or man-made disasters, such as the effects of war and famine. It may also be part of a longer-term effort to meet serious and more entrenched human needs, such as the need to alleviate disease.
    • Within hours of a disaster, the Church works with local government officials to determine what supplies and food are needed. Materials are then immediately sent to the area.
    • After urgent needs are met, the Church looks for additional ways to help with the long-term needs of the community. The Church’s approach is to help people become self-reliant by teaching skills and providing resources for a self-sustained life.
    • Donations, principally from Church members but also from people around the world, are used to make relief projects possible. One hundred percent of the donations given to the Church’s humanitarian services are used for relief efforts. The Church absorbs its own overhead costs.
    • The humanitarian services arm of the Church sponsors five ongoing global projects to help people become more self-reliant. Initiatives include neonatal resuscitation training, clean water projects, wheelchair distribution, vision treatment and measles vaccinations.

Some Humanitarian Stats

  • In 2003, the Church sent its first shipment of Atmit to Ethiopia to help relieve the starvation that 12 million people were facing. The first shipment comprised 80,000 pounds of the mixture.
  • In 2006, 54,840 wheelchairs were distributed in 54 countries: Albania, American Samoa, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
  • As part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ vision treatment program, volunteer ophthalmologists assist medical care providers around the world with training and equipment to treat simple vision problems. Since 2003, the Church’s efforts have assisted 20,000 people. In 2006, training was conducted in 10 countries: Albania, Argentina, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Kiribati, Mozambique and Nigeria.
  • From 1985 to 2006, the Church has shipped 54,905 tons of food and 107,061 tons of other supplies to more than 150 countries.  In 2006, the Church provided $14.9 million (USD) in cash and materials in response to the conflict in Lebanon, the earthquake in Indonesia, for refugees in Burundi, Sudan and Uganda, and 76 other disasters.
  • There are many other stats that you can view online.  Bishop Burton gave the updated statistics in his talk and I’m assuming that information should be available by the end of this week.

    How You Can Help

    If you are interested in contributing to these efforts there are numerous ways you can do so.  I know that in our church we put together emergency kits for the people in Mexico during the floods last year.  You can also simply donate money and many other opportunities as well.  For more information on how to help check out this website: http://www.lds.org/library/page/display/0,7098,6433-1-3298-1,00.html

    I am very grateful to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and feel the Lord has blessed me abundantly.  I am grateful and feel it a privelage to give my money and know 100% of the money is being used for helping others. 

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