LDS Church Partners With Red Cross and Others
The humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (referred to as Mormon or LDS) continues to expand its reach by partnering with trustworthy agencies, allowing greater accessibility to the worldwide population. Funds for the aid are largely donated by Church members through the Humanitarian Fund or fast offerings (Church members fast once a month and donate the money they would have spent on meals).
The Red Cross and the LDS Church recently celebrated 25 years of working together by signing a “memorandum of understanding” to continue their partnership in relieving global suffering, according to an article in the Deseret News.
Gail McGovern, CEO and president of the American Red Cross, toured Welfare Square in Salt Lake City with LDS Church leaders and thanked them for the “magnificent partnership” with the Red Cross. The new agreement will allow for better coordination during disasters.
In addition, $1.5 million was donated by the Church of Jesus Christ to the GAVI Alliance (previously the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), making it the largest amount donated to GAVI by a religious organization. The funds will be matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and will be used to purchase vaccines and to support worldwide immunization programs. In addition, LDS volunteers throughout the world work to protect children from disease through immunization.
“The church’s generous contribution of both its volunteers’ time and its funding will make a significant difference in helping protect the most vulnerable children against disease,” said GAVI chairman Dagfinn Hoybraten in the June 13, 2012 Deseret News article, “LDS Church donates $1.5 million to worldwide immunization efforts.“
“Their work in Kenya, Ghana and elsewhere encouraging parents to vaccinate their children is critically important to the health not only of those families, but communities and countries as a whole. It is a beautiful example of how civil society is making a difference in immunization around the world,” Hoybraten said.
The Deseret News article quoted Fred Riley, Humanitarian Services Division for the LDS Church:
“The church is grateful to have the opportunity to contribute in such a meaningful, on-the-ground way in helping save children’s lives and protecting people’s health through GAVI immunization programs. The funds come from our members and represent the priority the church places on this good work.”
Immunization has become a major humanitarian initiative for the LDS Church.
- In 2003, the LDS Church donated three million dollars to support a worldwide initiative to provide measles vaccinations to children in 40 countries, working with the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organization, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
- In 2004, the Church of Jesus Christ participated in a measles vaccination campaign in Madagascar. Some church members volunteered their time by serving missions dedicated to the measles campaign.
- From 2004 to 2009, 62,503 Church volunteers in 35 countries canvassed neighborhoods and helped at vaccination posts.
- In 2009, the Church participated in measles vaccination campaigns in Botswana, Cape Verde, Kenya, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and Uganda.
Other outreach efforts by the humanitarian arm of the Church include emergency response, clean water, wheelchair distribution, neonatal resuscitation training, vision care and food production.