Church’s commitment to care for those in need — anywhere in the world — reflected in annual report

In the opening months of 2020, humanitarian crises such as the coronavirus outbreak in China and weeks of earthquakes in Puerto Rico snagged headlines, prompting worldwide concern.

And as expected, the Church utilized equal measures of resources and Christian goodwill — providing high-demand provisions and support to China and Puerto Rico, respectively.

Those recent efforts — coupled with 2019’s long list of projects — point to Latter-day Saint Charities’ ongoing commitment to bless millions in need.

In its 2019 Annual Report released Monday, the Church’s charitable arm organization documented its efforts last year in 142 countries and territories. In all, Latter-day Saint Charities completed 3,221 projects working shoulder-to-shoulder with 2,000 partners.

Graph released Feb. 24, 2020, by Latter-day Saint Charities reflects the Church's growing efforts to care for people in humanitarian crisis.
Graph released Feb. 24, 2020, by Latter-day Saint Charities reflects the Church’s growing efforts to care for people in humanitarian crisis. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

And once again, each 2019 project was grounded in a commitment to “care for those in need, promote volunteerism and inspire self-reliance in a variety of ways,” according to a Newsroom report.

Latter-day Saint Charities president Sister Sharon Eubank, who also serves as second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, said a core principle of the organization’s work is to first find out what people need and then mobilize to help them.

“When you see some of the big responses that happened last year like the cyclone in Mozambique, the famine responses, the work we did around different hurricanes and things like that, the core principle is to get on the ground and find out what people need right now and what they will need later on. And then we can work to fill in those gaps,” she said. “The annual report reflects some of the more intensive work we’ve done on the ground, finding out what’s the real need.”

Latter-day Saint Charities’ 2019 highlights include:

  • Emergency response: 194 projects in 64 countries and territories
  • Vision care: 129,819 people helped in 32 countries and territories
  • Maternal and newborn care: 83,555 people assisted in 27 countries and territories
  • Food security: 181,398 people helped in 15 countries and territories
  • Clean water and sanitation: 316,790 people helped in 26 countries and territories
  • Immunizations: Six campaigns to eliminate disease in developing countries
  • Wheelchairs: 52,381 people helped in 41 countries and territories
  • Refugee response: 387 projects in 48 countries and territories
  • International community projects: 994 projects in 107 countries and territories
  • U.S. and Canada community projects: Various projects in 42 states and provinces
A long-time resident of Baomahun recalls joy that clean water brought to her village. Latter-day Saint Charities constructed wells in Sierra Leone.
A long-time resident of Baomahun recalls joy that clean water brought to her village. Latter-day Saint Charities constructed wells in Sierra Leone. Credit: Photo by Howard M. Collett/ LDS Philanthropies

In addition to being funded by Latter-day Saints who give to the Church’s Humanitarian Aid Fund, Latter-day Saint Charities is also supported by other generous donors, according to Newsroom. 

In 2019, Latter-day Saint Charities used these donations to help people in need around the world. These funds represent only a small part of the Church’s combined annual humanitarian and welfare aid expenditures (approaching $1 billion a year). These expenditures also include significant use of the faith’s fast offering fund, which local bishops and branch presidents use to help the poorest members of their congregations.

Latter-day Saint Charities has a long history of helping people in need — anywhere in the world. Since the organization’s inception in 1985, Latter-day Saint Charities has provided over $2.3 billion worth of assistance in 197 countries.

Among the major events to which Latter-day Saint Charities responded in 2019 were Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which brought flooding that destroyed crops in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe last spring. 

Working alongside global and local partners, Latter-day Saint Charities provided shelter and food to those devastated by the storms’ rampage, Newsroom reported. Recovery from these disasters stretches well beyond their immediate aftermath. Months after the cyclones, Latter-day Saint Charities and its partners continue to repair and refurnish schools ahead of the rainy season to give students a dry place to study and learn.

Sister Eubank also noted the importance of the words “Latter-day Saint” in Latter-day Saint Charities.

Jorge Diaz is entertained as Latter-day Saint Charities donated wheelchairs to recipients at the Villa Urquiza Ward meetinghouse in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019.
Jorge Diaz is entertained as Latter-day Saint Charities donated wheelchairs to recipients at the Villa Urquiza Ward meetinghouse in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

“With [President Russell M. Nelson’s] encouragement to use the full name of the Church, we have become Latter-day Saint Charities,” Sister Eubank said. “I really like how that feels because it is the charitable arm of the Latter-day Saints — it’s funded by them, and they produce the volunteer hours and the interest in the community. And so we really reflect the ideals and the energy and the hopes of the Latter-day Saints.

“The annual report is part of our accountability back to the Latter-day Saints who have donated to the humanitarian fund on the tithing slip. This is part of our reporting back to the people who have given so much, so that they can see what their donations do.”