Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the greater Chattanooga area join with members and friends from around the world in contributing to Latter-day Saint Charities – the humanitarian arm of the Church.
In 2020, according to officials at https://www.thechurchnews.com/global/2021-03-26/latter-day-saint-charities-2020-annual-report-covid-19-207875, Latter-day Saint Charities and the Church worked with more than 2,000 partners in 160 countries, engaging in more than 3,600 projects including COVID-19 relief and distribution of medical and food supplies. Since 1985, over $2.5 billion of assistance has been provided in 199 countries and territories. “This amount does not include the value of volunteer labor – worth millions of dollars,” officials said.
The following is a summary of 2020 humanitarian initiatives:
· Clean water in 23 countries and territories
· Emergency response in 158 countries and territories
· Food security in 18 countries and territories
· Immunization campaigns to eliminate disease in developing countries
· International community projects in 99 countries and territories
· Maternal and newborn care in nine countries and territories
· Refugee response in 50 countries and territories
· Vision care in 17 countries and territories
· Wheelchair distribution in 16 countries and territories
and Canada highlights include community projects in 50 states and 3 provinces. 800 truckloads of food were delivered to 380 homeless shelters, food banks and charitable agencies equating to 26 million meals provided. Over 40,000 lbs. of food was distributed to the Chattanooga Area Food bank. The Church, in partnership with Black14 Philanthropy, donated 180 tons of food to nine U.S. cities.
In Hawaii, the 178-acre Laie Hawaii Crop Farm is yielding “taro, tapioca, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, guava and a variety of other traditional island crops,” officials said (newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Families are assigned farm plots by local bishops. Whatever families don’t use is distributed to others. The Church has owned and operated the farm for more than two decades. It was established in the 1990s under the direction of President Ezra Taft Benson in line with the Church’s welfare and self-reliance program that was formally organized in 1936.
Whether in Hawaii or elsewhere, The Church’s welfare and self-reliance program assists people of all faiths, or no faith, around the world. “The objective,” leaders said, “is to care for those in need while teaching principles that promote self-reliance and self-respect.” The reason is because Jesus taught that the two great commandments are to love The Lord thy God, and to love thy neighbor as thyself…. “There is none other commandments greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).