Template:Humanitarian Aid Updates
"Caring for those in need is both a duty and a joyful privilege for followers of Jesus Christ. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we commit to living the two great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor (see Matthew 22:37–39). As a Church, we are blessed to have the ability, global connections, and resources to follow His admonition. . . . We invite all to join in being 'anxiously engaged in a good cause' as we continue to strengthen one another through service (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27). - First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
We Love God and We Love Our Neighbors
Caring for those in need has been the core mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the beginning. In 1842, the Relief Society was organized with a charge to care for the poor and minister to their needs. In 1936, the Church created the welfare program to help care for members in need and strengthen their ability to become self-reliant. And in 1985, the Church’s global humanitarian outreach was formally initiated.
President Russell M. Nelson has taught us that they who are willing to be called the Lord's people "are willing to bear one another’s burdens, . . . to mourn with those that mourn; . . . and [to] comfort those that stand in need of comfort."
Members of the Church have a covenant commitment to live the two great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor. The Lord has commanded us to "succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees" (Doctrine & Covenants 81:5). As followers of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints heed the Savior's call to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and afflicted.
“As His followers, we seek to love God and our neighbors throughout the world,” the First Presidency said. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is eager to bless others and to help those in need. We are blessed to have the ability, resources, and trusted global connections to carry out this sacred responsibility, which we consider a joyful privilege.”
Church members seek out those in need and render aid to all of God’s children without regard to religious affiliation, race, or nationality. As they do so, they are reminded of the Lord's admonition when he taught, "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me" (Matthew 25:45). King Benjamin in his timely treatise as recorded in the The Book of Mormon also reminds us, "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). King Benjamin also exhorted, "And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another" (Mosiah 4:21).
In 2022, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in 3,692 humanitarian projects, with 6.3 million hours of service volunteered, and 190 countries and territories served. Volunteer service was rendered through various means such as (1) Service at Church Facilities, such as farms, orchards, canneries, Deseret Industries stores, and more; (2) Missions to Care for Those in Need, including volunteer service in 85 countries around the world; and (3) Church-Sponsored Community Service Projects, including cleanup after natural disasters. In addition, JustServe, an online community service platform facilitated volunteer projects in 14 countries, teamed up with 14,061 organizations (including 16,285 new projects).
A total of $1.02 billion was expended to help those in need through:
- Fast Offering Assistance, which provides temporary financial help to those in need.
- Bishops' Orders for Goods, including giving food and commodities from bishops’ storehouses and Deseret Industries stores to those in need.
- Church Operations, including Family Services counseling, employment centers, farms, food-processing and facilities, and Deseret Industries.
- Humanitarian Projects, including charitable relief in communities across the world.
- Donated Commodities, including Church-produced goods provided to communities through food banks and other agencies.
- Donated Clothing, including discounted or free apparel given to Deseret Industries.
To help as many people as possible, the Church has established various humanitarian projects which operate throughout the world. These programs include Latter-day Saint Charities, Helping Hands, and Philanthropies. The Church also maintains the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was established in 1991 to "prepare humanitarian supplies for use worldwide and train those desiring to develop employable skills to become self-reliant."
In 2022, the Church completed the sixth year of its holiday initiative, Light the World. In 10 cities across the United States, community residents brightened the lives of those in need around the world by donating to the Church’s giving machines. Because the Church covered the operational expenses of the machines, charitable organizations were able to receive every penny donated toward their humanitarian efforts. The donations of Church members and friends to Light the World provided meals, clothing for children, polio vaccines, chickens to help struggling families, feminine hygiene kits, and more. People from around the world contributed, with total donations exceeding millions.
The Church’s Self-Reliance and Humanitarian Initiatives
The Church also facilitates self-reliance programs and resources to help individuals find employment, become financially secure, gain educational opportunities, and build emotional strength. These efforts are aided by missionaries and other volunteers, who facilitate self-reliance groups and employment coaching in 144 countries worldwide.
For those who struggle with barriers to employment, development counseling is available through Deseret Industries. This program helps individuals to make goals and to determine a plan to get the education and experience necessary to achieve those goals. As part of the program, participants receive training and real-life work experience in Church-owned thrift stores.
The Church's Family Services organization helps leaders care for individuals with social and emotional challenges by providing resources and consultation. One important focus for Family Services is the Church’s Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), which provides support and a safe place for anyone working to overcome compulsive behavior. The free program is made up of support groups that follow a 12-step approach. The program is built within a gospel-centered framework that connects with the Savior Jesus Christ and recognizes Him as the source of healing. The Addiction Recovery Program is facilitated by ARP volunteers around the world, and anyone—regardless of their religious belief—is welcome to participate. In addition to ARP services, Family Services offers counseling to people in a variety of circumstances. They also conduct family, group, and marriage counseling sessions.
Emergency Response is the part of the Church's humanitarian efforts of which most people are aware. Funds and supplies in this area are used to help victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes, as well as other disasters such as wars or political unrest. Supplies in this area are gathered and stored before a crisis so supplies can be sent within hours of an emergency. Volunteers are also on call so they can be reached and organized within a few hours if needed. The Church of Jesus Christ is renowned for its ability to organize its members in various regions of the world to respond to emergencies and facilitate distributing goods immediately after a crisis, often before aid programs such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army come to assist.
President Russell M. Nelson has said, "It would be impossible to calculate the amount of service that Latter-day Saints render around the globe every day of every year." President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles adds, "When we serve together, we realize that our similarities are stronger than our differences." And Sister Sharon Eubank, Director of Latter-day Saint Charities, has said, "Our individual efforts don’t necessarily require money or faraway locations; they do require the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a willing heart to say to the Lord, 'Here am I; send me.'"
You can read the full "Caring For Those In Need" 2022 Annual Report online.
In September 2022, after hunger increased in the world due to the pandemic, weather catastrophes, disasters, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupting food supplies, the Church donated $32 million to the World Food Programme.  The aid will provide food for the following suffering countries: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.
BYU-I Pathway to Education
Through BYU-Idaho, the Church has initiated its Pathway program to offer higher education to people all over the world. The unique structure of this program not only holds costs way down, but it also offers certificates on the way so that the earning power of the students increases as courses are completed.
Beginning in April 2024, BYU–Idaho and Ensign College, with the support of BYU–Pathway Worldwide, will offer 90–96 credit degrees that will allow students to complete an online bachelor’s degree in three years.
Senior missionary opportunities in the Church include mentoring students all over the world, thus holding educational costs down.
Church Educational System Commissioner Elder Clark G. Gilbert said there are currently more than 1 million students in CES. That includes BYU–Pathway Worldwide’s 70,000 students in over 180 countries. At BYU–Idaho enrollment has more than tripled since 2000. And enrollment in Seminaries and Institutes is higher than demographic growth.
“No matter where you are in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Elder Gilbert said, “you now have access to an affordable, high-quality, spiritually based education.”