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Recent humanitarian efforts from Latter-day Saints in Europe

Members of the Church served others in need in several European countries in October and November

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded after flooding, donated blood, cleaned homes, sorted supplies, sewed quilts and in several European countries in October and November.

The Church also received recognition for its humanitarian aid in Turkey and thanked nonprofit organizations for their joint work in Albania.

Below are descriptions of some of those efforts.

Cleaning up after flooding in Italy

In November, some areas of Tuscany, Italy, suffered major flooding, which damaged homes and streets.

Volunteers push water with brooms along a flooded street in the Tuscany area of Italy.
Members of the Florence Italy Stake help clear water out of a flooded street in the Tuscany area of Italy on Nov. 5, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Members of the Church volunteered to help local authorities bring people to safety who were stuck on the upper floors of their homes. They also cleared streets and houses of water, mud and debris — shoveling, cleaning, pumping water, clearing out furniture and more.

Several groups of Church members and their friends helped over several days, including after sacrament meeting on Sunday, Nov. 5. In all, hundreds of families were assisted, reported the Church’s Italy Newsroom.

Blood donation events across Italy

Several stakes in Italy organized blood donation events in October with the Avis and Italian Red Cross associations.

More than 100 units of blood were donated nationwide by members of the Church. The organizations said the donations were an immense help, and the donors shared how they felt joy from their service.

Helping Hands in Portugal

Members of the Barcelos Branch and other youth and young adults from the Porto Portugal North Stake worked with the Barcelos City Council and Intensify World to take part in two service projects on Oct. 28.

In the first activity, the Helping Hands volunteers cleaned and eliminated mold from a house that will be given to a family of Ukrainian refugees, who are living in a temporary shelter.

Three people wearing yellow Helping Hands vests clean and eliminate mold in a home in Barcelos, Portugal.
Members of the Barcelos Ward clean and eliminate mold in a home for a Ukrainian refugee family in Barcelos, Portugal, Oct. 28, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In the other activity, young men and young women and their leaders sorted utensils, toys, clothes and food at the Intensify World warehouse. All the items were donated to families and people in need, reported the Church’s Portugal Newsroom.

The association’s president expressed his gratitude to the Church and his hope for future collaboration.

Young men and women wearing yellow Helping Hands vests sort supplies at a warehouse in Barcelos, Portugal.
Young men and women in the Barcelos Ward serve at the Intensify World warehouse in Barcelos, Portugal, Oct. 28, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Help for a nursing home in Belarus

The Church provided a new solid fuel heating hot water boiler to a nursing home in the village of Khvoinitsa, in the Mogilev region of Belarus. The system was installed and put into operation in time for the winter heating season to begin in October.

Currently 19 people live in the home. The director said the new heating boiler made it possible to create more comfortable conditions during the winter for residents, department and staff, reported the Church’s Belarus Newsroom.

Relief Society and Young Women serve in Russia

Women and young women work together on a quilt in Moscow, Russia.
Members of the Relief Society and Young Women organizations in the Krasnogorsk Ward sew a quilt in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 7, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Relief Society sisters from the Krasnogorsk Ward in the Moscow Russia Stake gathered with the Young Women organization for a joint service project.

On Oct. 7, the older women taught the younger women how to sew quilts. These quilts are given to babies and newlyweds, the elderly in hospices and nursing homes and to people affected by natural disasters.

The women constantly strive to serve, learn new things, create something useful and share their experience and knowledge, said a report from the Church’s Russia Newsroom.

The ward Relief Society president, Nelya Denisova, said: “We can teach each other so much by generously sharing our talents and abilities. Older women have a lot to pass on to our younger sisters and a lot to learn from them. By supporting our youth, extending our hands of love and friendship, we have a huge influence on them, teaching them to serve and love according to the example of Jesus Christ.”

13 women and young women show a quilt they made together in Moscow, Russia.
Members of the Relief Society and Young Women organizations in the Krasnogorsk Ward show a quilt they made together in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 7, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Recognition for earthquake relief efforts in Turkey

A missionary couple who led much of the Church’s earthquake relief efforts in Turkey received recognition for their “extraordinary efforts to provide assistance to victims of the earthquake” in the southeast of the country.

Elder Peter Huber and Sister Carla Huber were recognized by the Health Volunteers organization in Turkey on Oct. 3 on behalf of the Church for their contributions, reported the Church’s Germany Newsroom.

Elder Peter Huber and Sister Carla Huber speak during an award ceremony in Turkey.
Elder Peter Huber and Sister Carla Huber speak on Oct. 3, 2023, during an award ceremony by the Health Volunteers organization in Turkey after being recognized for their efforts to respond after February’s earthquakes. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Before recently retiring and beginning missionary service, Elder Huber was one of Switzerland’s leading disaster management experts. Thanks to his preparation and knowledge, he was able to take immediate action after the earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6.

Elder and Sister Huber were serving as full-time missionaries in Frankfurt, Germany. They were charged with training people to prepare for emergencies and with coordinating the Church’s response efforts in the Europe Central Area. 

After receiving the award, Elder and Sister Huber expressed their gratitude for all the partners who made the relief effort possible. ”We were very happy to be here and to do our part,” Elder Huber said.

Now they are exploring ways to rebuild key infrastructure. “When you look at it as a whole, you become overwhelmed,” said Elder Huber. ”But I’ve learned that if we do our best every day, we can leave the rest to the Lord.”

Church thanks humanitarian partners in Albania

Elder Massimo De Feo stands with Ermand Agolli from the Guardian of the Children Foundation at an appreciation event in Tirana, Albania.
Elder Massimo De Feo, General Authority Seventy and president of the Europe Central Area, left, with Ermand Agolli from the Guardian of the Children Foundation at an appreciation event in Tirana, Albania, Nov. 2, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Leaders from the Church gathered in Tirana, Albania, on Nov. 2 to express appreciation to directors of community organizations that work with the Church to serve those in need throughout the country.

Some projects have included wheelchair donations and training, medical equipment, and supplies for mothers and babies, reported a news release from the Church.

At the event, Elder Massimo De Feo, General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s Europe Central Area, said such efforts follow the two great commandments to love God and love others.

“It is wonderful to feel the spirit of collaboration and cooperation as we work together and share some of our feelings, even about the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder De Feo said. “The important work we do together not only allows us to help those in need, but to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Tirana Albania Stake President Jetmir Hysi expressed his appreciation.

“I am grateful for the time and your sacrifice for those whom you have served and have changed their lives,” he said.

Elder Christopher Ellsworth and Sister Donna Ellsworth, humanitarian missionaries for the Church serving in Albania, presented gift bags to representatives of the many organizations who attended the event. A special painting depicting the parable of the Good Samaritan was included among the gifts.

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