Aiding the world

LDS charities leader to speak at U.N. event

Published: Tuesday, March 5 2013 11:00 p.m. MST

As result, millions of children will be vaccinated against pneumococcus and rotavirus. "This kind of really heart-felt interest by LDS Charities is an example of the private sector at its best."

Eubank, a former member of the LDS Church's Relief Society General Board, said individual members and the church as an organization have covenanted to help the poor and the needy.

"Every church member makes a covenant at baptism that they will serve the poor, mourn with those that mourn" she said. So you have people all over the world looking for the best ways to keep that covenant, whatever their circumstances are. … The church as an institution has as one of its four pillars the charge to reach out and care for the poor and the needy — both in the church and outside the church. So the humanitarian arm of the church, which is funded by the donations of the members, is working to keep a covenant as well."

Church members' willingness to volunteer time, expertise and funding to humanitarian projects is why LDS Charities has such a large scope, Eubank said. More than a decade ago, LDS Charities — in addition to responding to emergencies across the globe — also began to focus on specific initiatives.

"There is a bigger impact if we can focus on certain niches no one else is addressing, and we learn to do those really well at a world-class standard," Eubank said.

As a result, in 2012, the church:

Provided clean water to 890,000 people in 36 countries.

Helped 51,000 people grow gardens in 16 countries.

Donated wheelchairs to 70,000 people in 61 countries.

Assisted 75,000 people with vision care in 24 countries.

Trained 28,000 in-country medical personnel in neonatal resuscitation in 40 countries.

Participated in immunizing 8 million children in 13 countries.

"I think about the spectrum of human development and at one end of the spectrum are people who feel they are too poor and too disabled and too-whatever outside the norms of society to participate," said Eubank. "What they need is some experience that gives them evidence that God is aware of them and loves them. … A humanitarian project is a way for that to happen. As a project unfolds, people make interpersonal connections. They build relationships based on acceptance, and they start to think, 'Hey, I am good enough, I am important enough that I can participate in this.' Once they feel that, they move further along the spectrum to: 'If we cooperate together we can change things, we can do something to make our community better.' … The broader scope is that they start participating in society. They start changing things that need to be changed. That's human progression. That is the real purpose of humanitarian work."

Email: Sarah@desnews.com

Worldwide assistance

During the past quarter-century, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided assistance to nearly 30 million people in 179 countries. Much of that assistance came in the form of emergency response after disasters.

Following is a summary of responses in the past five years:

2012: 104 disasters in 52 countries

2011: 111 disasters in 50 countries

2010: 119 disasters in 58 countries

2009: 110 disasters in 49 countries

2008: 124 disasters in 48 countries

Those responses included:

Hurricane Sandy: Approximately 28,000 LDS Church members donated almost 300,000 hours of service to help clean up refuse and debris after Hurricane Sandy struck the Caribbean, Middle Atlantic and northeastern United States in late October 2012. The church provided 11 truckloads of relief supplies (approximately 400,000 pounds), including food, water, blankets, hygiene kits, generators, pumps, tarps, cleaning supplies and fuel.

Japan earthquake and tsunami: After a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck on March 11, 2011, the church distributed more than 250 tons of supplies, including food, water, blankets, bedding, hygiene supplies, clothing and fuel. And 31,000 church-sponsored volunteers provided more than 608,000 hours of service. An LDS employment resource center continues to operate in the Sendai area to assist members and others who lost jobs.

East Africa drought: One of the worst droughts of the past 60 years spread throughout Eastern Africa, affecting more than 10 million people in recent years. In response, the church partnered with Islamic Relief, International Medical Corps, International Relief and Development, and other nongovernment organizations to provide food, clean water and medical supplies. The church has funded the building of 20 water catchment facilities (Birkets) in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Haiti earthquake: A 7.0-magnitude quake rocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, killing more than 200,000 people and leaving 1 million homeless. The church provided immediate relief, sent a team of doctors and LDS Family Services counselors to provide support after the disaster and continues with long-term rebuilding and employment efforts.Heady goes here

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