Latter-day Saint Charities — the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — participated in more than 3,600 projects in 160 countries in 2020, according to its annual report released Friday, March 26.
Of those projects, the COVID-19 relief effort included more than 1,000 projects in 150 countries and territories — the Church’s largest humanitarian effort to date. Other projects included refugee support and volunteer work through JustServe.
President Russell M. Nelson expressed gratitude in a social media post last year to those who have donated their time and resources to help others during the pandemic. “Together we will overcome this difficult time,” he wrote on Aug. 16, 2020. “The Lord will bless you as you continue to bless others.”
In a video released March 5, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé thanked the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for combined efforts in combatting COVID-19.
“We hold hope in our hearts, not only of overcoming the pandemic, but of seeing a brighter future for all children, their parents and their families,” Bishop Caussé said. “This future becomes a reality as we follow the example of Jesus Christ in loving our neighbor and seeking out those in need.”
The following is a summary of Latter-day Saint Charities initiatives in 2020:
- Clean water: 593,025 people in 23 countries and territories
- Emergency response: 1,147 projects in 158 countries and territories
- Food security: 357,378 people in 18 countries and territories; 114 scholarships awarded in 11 countries and territories
- Immunization: 10 campaigns to eliminate diseases in developing countries
- Maternal and newborn care: 16,473 people in nine countries and territories
- Refugee response: 294 projects in 50 countries and territories
- Vision care: 401,548 people in 17 countries and territories
- Wheelchairs: 17,381 people in 16 countries and territories
- International community projects: 654 projects in 99 countries and territories
- U.S. and Canada community projects: 50 states and 3 provinces
Throughout 2020, Latter-day Saint Charities provided medical and emergency supplies, trained health care professionals, raised awareness in communities and delivered food to vulnerable populations around the world.
And in partnership with the World Food Programme, Latter-day Saint Charities provided 35,000 meals to children and their families in Somalia. The food supply lasted for at least five months while schools were closed due to COVID-19.
Another notable COVID-19 relief effort was ProjectProtect — in which more than 57,000 volunteers sewed over 6 million medical-grade face masks, in collaboration with partners at Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health.
In the United States and Canada, 53 projects provided support to immigrants, refugees and the homeless. Production schedules at Church-owned canneries and food processing plants in the U.S. were adjusted to meet the increased community needs.
In 2020, the Church sent 800 truckloads of food to 380 food banks, homeless shelters and charitable agencies throughout the U.S. In all, more than 26 million meals were provided to those in need throughout the country.
Latter-day Saint Charities provided funds to 23 agencies to benefit more than 1.8 million refugees, internally displaced people and host community members in 39 countries. In the U.S., nearly 9,000 people were supported in resettlement efforts.
Through Latter-day Saint Charities’ volunteer arm JustServe, almost 75,000 volunteers registered to help with nearly 20,000 new projects from more than 2,000 new organizations last year.
Read more: How the Church’s JustServe initiative offers a unifying remedy for the divisive ills of the day
Since 1985, Latter-day Saint Charities and its affiliates have provided over $2.5 billion worth of assistance in 199 countries and territories, according to the annual report. This amount does not include the value of volunteer labor — worth millions of dollars.
In 2019, Latter-day Saint Charities completed 3,221 projects in 142 countries and territories, according to its 2019 Annual Report.