Communities of compassion: Latter-day Saint service efforts in Italy, Hungary and Lithuania

Recent service efforts of the Church strengthen individuals, families and communities in Europe

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members continue to heed the commandment given in Doctrine and Covenants 38:35, to “look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer.”

From soup kitchens in Italy to helping pick up garbage in Lithuania, here are several ways Church members are helping in their communities.


A man in an apron working at a kitchen countertop.
Aldo, a canteen volunteer, prepares the food in the solidarity canteen of the Parish of the Most Holy Redeemer in Rome, Italy. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Working with the solidarity canteen of the Parish of the Most Holy Redeemer run by the Scalabrinian Fathers in Rome, Italy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates funds to help provide warm meals for the community’s homeless and vulnerable. Volunteers distribute food to those in need 5 days a week, along with missionary volunteers once a week, reported the Church’s Italy Newsroom on May 3.

The canteen also provides shelter during difficult weather conditions. Marie Paoletti, a volunteer at the solidarity canteen, said: “When the 2016 earthquake occurred, I was there, I suffered. I’ve lost everything. That’s why I want to give.”

Another volunteer in the soup kitchen named Aldo explained that he serves because anyone can face unemployment, “You lose your job, and in an instant, you’re on the other side.”

One beneficiary of the canteen is a refugee from Ghana, who expressed gratitude to the parish and the Church for providing this aid. He also said that when bread is served with his meal, he saves it for the weekend. And on Sunday, he eats it and thanks God that he has something to eat.


For the 21,000 Hungarian children that live in state care, foster families are difficult to find and orphanages are at capacity. That is why Mary’s Smile, a foundation established by professional women and mothers in Hungary, aims to establish a Christian-focused foster care network.

Mother spinning in the grass with a young boy in her arms.
Stock photo of a mother and child | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church’s Europe Newsroom reported on May 14, about the Church’s efforts to provide funding to this organization that provides training, education and therapeutic services to potential foster parents and foster children.

In the past six months, Mary’s Smile identified and trained 40 potential foster parents to care for children who have faced severe trauma and abuse. Speaking to the success of this program is the story of one child who was not attending school before placement in a foster home has now become an excellent student and football player.

Related Story
Children are part of the body of Christ: What baptized Primary children can do in the Lord’s Church


A group of people standing in front of a pile of garbage, which was collected from the forest behind them.
Latter-day Saint organized management of the Fabijoniškii forest in Vilnius, Lithuania. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A group of local Latter-day Saints and friends gathered in the Fabijoniškii forest of Vilnius, Lithuania, to clean the garbage-ridden area, reported Church’s Lithuania Newsroom on April 22. Collecting over 6,300 liters of trash, these efforts helped to beautify the land that lay about a kilometer away from a local Latter-day Saint meetinghouse.

This activity, organized by the Church members, not only provided an opportunity to clean their environment but also strengthened community bonds and ignited gratitude throughout the neighborhood. It was decided that further efforts to tend the natural landscape would be held in the future.

Related Stories
Painting skateboards, tying blankets and other ways to turn a ‘sharable joy’ into a JustServe project
Bringing smiles and support to a South African school
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed