In an effort to help combat hunger across the globe, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, presented a $3 million donation from the Church to the World Food Programme on July 17.
The donation was accepted by Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme, and Sandy Westlake, head of partnerships in the Private Sector Division of World Food Programme, at the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora in Rome. The funds will be divided to help refugees and internally displaced people in Syria, Cameroon and Chad.
The donation follows other partnerships between the Church and the World Food Programme — a United Nations program aimed to eliminate acute hunger. LDS Charities partnered with the World Food Programme in 2014 to help those affected by the Ebola crisis and again in 2015 to alleviate hunger for those suffering from the drought in Ethiopia.
“It was an honor to represent our worldwide members who donated these funds to help our fellowmen in despair,” said President Uchtdorf. “The amount of money given by our members is significant, but even more important is the love, the heart, and the compassion which are reflected by this generous gift to God’s children in need.
“It is a true testimony of the desire to follow the Savior’s example and His teachings. Generously giving of our temporal means to those who have lost everything will be a blessing to all. Great blessings will also be ours by every simple act of kindness, support and love to those afar and in our direct environment — even to those within our own communities and families.
“There is a hunger in this world. Many people hunger for temporal, emotional, and spiritual food. As members of Jesus Christ’s Church we can help in all of these fields.”
Every day, one out of nine people go without food and one in two are malnourished, according to the World Food Programme. In 2015, the organization distributed 3.2 million metric tons of food, directly providing food rations to 75.7 million people in 81 countries (62.6 million women and children). Each of the rations can support an individual for 195 days.
Bruce Muir, director of Church Emergency response, said the World Food Programme has the largest transport network of any humanitarian organization, which allows them to take food directly to those in need.
Brother Muir said LDS Charities determined to make the donation after “looking at the needs.”
During his time in Rome, President Uchtdorf and his wife, Sister Harriet R. Uchtdorf, were accompanied by Elder Alessandro Dini Ciacci, an Area Seventy, and other local Church leaders.
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