Church helps flood victims in Australia

When the Church purchased agricultural property here earlier this year, local leaders agreed that revenue from the farming operation would go to humanitarian and charitable causes.

Responding to that promise - in its first opportunity since establishing the farm - the Church recently donated $100,000 (Australian dollars) to help storm victims in Wollongong, New South Wales.In August, Wollongong received 33 inches of rain in a 12-hour period - 16 inches of which fell in one hour alone. No Church members were injured in the storm, which killed two people.

Water from the mountain ranges behind the city overflowed creeks and raced through the city, moving boulders the size of cars and knocking houses from their foundations. More than 3,000 houses were damaged and 1,500 families were left homeless.

Damage was estimated to exceed $100 million. The city infrastructure alone received more than $50 million in damage.

Elder Vaughn J Featherstone of the Seventy and president of the Church's Australia/New Zealand Area presented the $100,000 check to New South Wales Premier Bob Carr and Wollongong Mayor David Campbell Oct. 29.

Mr. Carr said some families and businesses in the area lost everything. "The courage and the community spirit shown in Wollongong is heartening but we must all do whatever we can to assist them to recover."

The Church's donation will go a long way to do just that, he explained.

Elder Featherstone emphasized that the Church works to provide humanitarian support whenever it can. "Our hearts go out to those people who suffered as a result of the Wollongong disaster and we are grateful to have the opportunity to assist in this small way," he said. "With the purchase of the (agricultural) properties, we are also pleased that we can increase our participation in local humanitarian work."

On the farm in New South Wales the Church produces irrigated crops and raises sheep and cattle.

Stephen Hansford, general manager of the farm, noted that after receiving the Church's donation, Premier Carr spoke of a recent trip to Salt Lake City where he visited Welfare Square and was impressed with the outreach of the Church's welfare system.

In the future, revenues from the farm will assist other humanitarian and charitable efforts in Australia, New Zealand, on numerous Pacific islands, and to Church projects. In December, the Church will donate 2,000 Christmas food baskets from farm revenues to needy families throughout New South Wales.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed