"Guided by this principle, in a plan outlined and taught by inspired prophets of God, Latter-day Saints fast one day each month and contribute generously to a fast offering fund at least the equivalent of the meals forfeited, and usually many times more. Such sacred offerings finance the operation of storehouses, supply cash needs of the poor, and provide medical care for the sick who are without funds."
Further, President Monson said, "In addition to helping members of the church through our welfare program, we also sponsor humanitarian relief and developmental projects around the world to help those in need, regardless of their faith. From 1985 through the end of 2010, the church has provided, through its Humanitarian Aid fund, essential help to the needy in 178 countries and territories. With these funds, which have been generously donated by its members and which number in the millions of dollars, the church provides essential help to people in times of natural disasters, famine, sickness and events that can strike anyone, anywhere. Clothing and shoes are provided to those who are without. Quilts and blankets bring warmth to those who are cold. Kits are filled to meet the needs of newborn babies and their mothers. Bags are filled with supplies for school children. Hygiene kits help to maintain cleanliness and health in emergency situations.
"Additionally, our humanitarian efforts also furnish wheelchairs to those who cannot afford them. Skilled missionary couples serve humanitarian missions to impoverished areas in the world, providing whatever help might be needed. Vision care is furnished by physicians who generously donate their time and talents not only to provide medical assistance, but also to train medical personnel in areas where such is needed. Neonatal resuscitation is also taught, as well as classes in proper nutrition and other subjects which can improve health."
From 2002 to 2008, the church distributed 302,000 wheelchairs. Qualified LDS volunteers trained 113,000 physicians, nurses and midwives to save newborns with breathing difficulties from 2003 to 2008. And during that same period, LDS Church efforts resulted in improved sight for 215,000 people in 24 countries. More than 215,000 people have received improved sight through the church's vision care initiative, aimed to prevent avoidable blindness. Some 5.2 million people now have access to clean water thanks to the church's initiative to provide convenient and sustainable sources of clean water to communities worldwide.
President Monson said that whenever and wherever a disaster occurs, the LDS Church is among the first to respond with emergency relief. "By way of illustration, within an hour after the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the church was in motion, immediately sending relief supplies on their way," he said. "We provided water, food, medical supplies, hygiene kits and other items. We sent teams of doctors and nurses to provide much-needed medical care. Our relief efforts in Haiti continue."
In 2010 alone, 777,381 days of labor were donated to church welfare facilities in 143 storehouses, 102 home storage centers, 54 production projects, 23 processing facilities, 326 resource facilities and 326 employment centers.
In the past quarter of a century, from 1985-2010, the humanitarian assistance given included 63,377 tons of food, 14,345 tons of medical supplies, 93,196 tons of clothing, and 11.1 million hygiene, newborn and school kits.
Millions of people have benefited from the church's financial support to the World Health Organization for campaigns to eliminate diseases such as measles.
"We share a common interest with people of many faiths in helping those who are in need," President Monson said. "We work cooperatively with them in efforts to feed the hungry and relieve suffering.
"We may not be able to do everything, but we must do something. I believe all can be of service. Helping others does not always involve responding to a major disaster. It might be something simple, such as taking a meal to a sick neighbor or providing some other simple but needed assistance.
"The Prophet Joseph Smith declared this truth: 'A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.' I pray that we may ever be filled with such love."
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