Mormon Humanitarian Efforts
The Mormon Church has sent service workers and material relief to victims of over 150 disasters since 1986 alone. Service and aid are provided regardless of any consideration, including religion, ethnicity, and nationality, and is valued in the tens of millions of dollars annually. In the last 20 years, 200 million pounds of food, clothing, and medicine were donated in 147 countries, almost all to members of other faiths. Service is offered to countries where Mormon missionaries are banned by law. The Church is able to send relief quickly because there is no need to wait for donations or purchase supplies. Mormon Church members donate their service and resources regularly, and supplies are stored at Salt Lake and elsewhere, ready for distribution. The LDS Church also works with and donates extensively to other, “non-Mormon” charities. While the Church’s specific humanitarian service programs are too numerous to list here, here’s a few highlights: ()
- In 2001 the Church established what it calls the “Perpetual Education Fund.” Low-rate college loans are made to impoverished students in the developing world, students that could not otherwise obtain a good education. Over 10,000 loans have been made to date, and the project is expanding.
- The Mormon Church played an important role in the 2004 Asian-tsunami service relief efforts. After working to address the population’s immediate needs, the Church began working towards long-term progress, including livelihood restoration, health-care improvement (including operating-room construction, medical-equipment supply, and trauma counseling), and the reconstruction of community buildings (including homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques). In all, millions of dollars have been invested in this type of long-term aid.
- The Mormon Church has an extensive vision program in the developing world, where service missionaries provide local health-care professionals with the necessary training and equipment to treat vision problems. Under this program, 20,000 individuals have received eye treatment at a cost of only one million dollars.
Seeking Jesus Christ and serving others go hand in handBecause world-wide only one percent of all who need wheelchairs have access to one, the Church has distributed over 100,000 chairs to the disabled in developing nations at a cost of $6.8 million.
- The Church has helped 1.8 million people in over 1,000 communities gain access to clean water at an average cost of only $2.50 per person. This service has included digging wells, providing water storage and delivery systems, and installing water purification systems. Mostly local labor was used, and local community leaders were trained in how to maintain the new facilities.
- At a cost of $3.5 million, the Mormon Church has sent service-missionary doctors to developing nations to train local health-care professionals in neonatal resuscitation. Neonatal deaths due to breathing problems cost one million infant lives a year.
- Working with international service partners (the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nations Childrenís Fund, World Health Organization, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), the Church donated $3 million to work towards providing measles vaccinations for 200 million children in 40 African countries.
- Church members donated 10,000 days of service to assist Hurricane Katrina victims.
- The Church offers small-business loans to the impoverished in developing countries.
So what’s a typical year like? Take 2004…
How Mormons feel when they serve others
“In 2004, the Church provided $31.1 million (USD) in cash and materials in response to the hurricanes in Florida and the Caribbean, tsunamis in South Asia, war in Iraq, flooding in Colombia, and 110 other disasters.” (Accurate as of ~2003.)
The Mormon Church owns 400 welfare service farms and 220 canneries/welfare storehouses to care for the poor. Members volunteer their time to staff these facilities. In 2003, over half a million man-hours of service were donated. One Church farm in Florida, the world’s largest beef ranch, has over 312,000 acres.
(Accurate as of ~2003.)
The Church also has an extensive service program to help the unemployed. In 2003, Church employment centers helped 85,000 people in the United States and Canada find employment. About the same number of jobs were found for members of the Church in foreign countries.
(Accurate as of 2003.)
LDS Family Services, a Mormon organization, has 64 offices to provide adoption, foster care, and counseling services.
(Accurate as of ~2003.)
46 Mormon-operated thrift stores function in part to provide employment for the disadvantaged/disabled.
(Accurate as of 2006.)