The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating $1 million to provide food and water for people in the country of Kenya, which is struggling through a three-year drought.
Elder Ian S. Ardern, General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the Africa Central Area presidency, recently traveled to Katatek, on Kenya’s southern border with Tanzania. There he oversaw distribution of 1,000 containers with enough food to sustain families of six for up to four weeks.
“The experience reminded me of the Savior and the feeding of the 5,000,” Elder Ardern wrote on the Africa Central Area’s Facebook page. “You will recall that it was a lad (John 6:9) who brought the five loaves and two fishes, and, figuratively, on this occasion, the Church was the lad. We brought what we could and felt that the Lord would bless the Church’s effort.”
The March 16 event marked the first step of the Church’s donation of 40,000 containers of food over the next month to 240,000 people living in four drought-stricken counties of Kenya, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
The Church is working with the Red Cross and the Kenyan national government to purchase, transport and distribute the food.
Rebecca Miano, Cabinet secretary in the Ministry of the East African Community for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, thanked the Church for the donations.
“We are here today because our brothers and sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have graciously heeded our calls,” Miano said. “Indeed, the Bible in the Book of James [chapter] 2, calls for us to practice faith in action. Caring for vulnerable people and the hungry is one of the ways we can be true to the scriptures.”
Elder Ardern was joined at the event by other Church members engaged in humanitarian projects for east Africa.
“The Church is made of people, and people took from their pocket and put into an envelope funds that allow the purchase of these food products to help so many people,” he said that day. “So, I pause for a moment and express my gratitude for faces unseen and hearts that have freely given.”
Elder Ardern then wrote on Facebook that like many members of the Church around the world, he and Sister Ardern donate to the humanitarian funds of the Church — but he never expected to see those funds at work in person.
“It is quite an emotional experience seeing the ‘Church in action’ and knowing it is possible because of the thoughtful and generous members from all over the world who contribute to those in need,” Elder Ardern said.
“President Spencer W. Kimball said: ‘God shows His love to us through others.’ Once again, Sister Ardern and I felt His love for the grateful recipients.”