Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Europe Area sets up Three-Pronged approach to Refugee Crisis; No members harmed in Chilean earthquake

Church Assisting during Refugee Crisis; No Members Harmed in Chile Quake

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
  • 30 SEPTEMBER 2015

The initial phase of the Church’s humanitarian response to the refugee crisis is being executed in three ways. Meanwhile, no members were harmed during the recent Chilean earthquake. 


  • The First Presidency has approved a three-pronged humanitarian project in response to the movement of refugees in Europe.
  • No members were harmed during the Chilean earthquake September 16.
Church assisting during refugee crisis
The First Presidency has approved a three-pronged humanitarian project in response to what has been called the largest movement of refugees on the European continent since World War II.
Nearly half a million migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe this year, according to the United Nations High Commission to Refugees. Most of the refugees hail from areas in the Middle East ravaged by war and civil conflict.
The initial phase of the Church’s humanitarian response to the refugee crisis is being executed in three ways, said LDS humanitarian response manager Jeff Foy.
1. The Church is partnering with various international humanitarian organizations to deliver resources needed to meet the immediate needs of refugees impacted by the crisis.
2. The Europe Area Presidency is forming an advisory council made up of business and community leaders from nations across the Continent. The council will serve under the direction of the Area Presidency and identify and report on refugee needs as they develop.
“The advisory council will be made up of Church members and others who are not members of the Church,” said Brother Foy.
3. The Church is setting aside resources for European wards and stakes to support projects in individual communities.
Brother Foy said Church welfare officials would continue to monitor the refugee situation in Europe and implement future projects as needed.
No members harmed in Chilean earthquake
Meanwhile, no members or missionaries were harmed in a massive September 16 earthquake that claimed 11 lives and caused significant damage in coastal towns in north-central Chile.
The magnitude 8.3 quake reportedly rumbled for more than three minutes and could be felt across the country.
“The earthquake did not have a large impact on Church members,” said Brother Foy.
Two member homes were left uninhabitable. Meanwhile, the earthquake toppled the steeple of the Salamanca Branch, Illapel Chile District, meetinghouse. The structural damage was cosmetic, and members are continuing to use the Salamanca building.
Brother Foy said welfare officials would continue to monitor the recovery effort in Chile. Local priesthood leaders have utilized fast offerings to help impacted members with food and other immediate needs.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

LDS Aid to Refugees in Europe

This is from the Mormon Newsroom.  There were 3 embedded videos.  Go there to watch the videos.


Mormons Stepping Up Aid to Refugees
Mormons in Europe, supported by church headquarters in the United States, are stepping up their aid to refugees fleeing to Europe.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – the official name for the “Mormons” – has been providing aid to refugees in the Middle East for more than a decade, providing hundreds of thousands of blankets, clothes, emergency medical supplies, food, and other resources to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria.

Elder Patrick Kearon, who along with his two counselors, oversees half a million members of the Church in Europe, said in response to the crisis in Europe the Church has made an additional commitment of €4.6 million (US $5 million) to immediately help displaced families, with more to come.
"We continue to be moved, like so many others, by the stories and images of those struggling for basic necessities of food, water, and temporary shelter,” he said. “They have lost so much."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will direct some of the funds to established non-governmental Agencies (NGOs) including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNICEF, Catholic Charities, International Medical Corps, and Physicians for Human Rights. Other funds will be channeled through local municipalities and national government agencies involved in assisting refugees.
“The Church has helped, and will continue to help those who remain displaced and homeless in conflict zones or in neighboring countries where they have fled,” said Sharon Eubank, the director of the Church’s Humanitarian Services.
Since 1985, the Church has provided relief and development projects for humanitarian purposes without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients.Together with so many others across Europe, individual Mormon congregations are also responding to the invitation to assist in the refugee crisis, Elder Kearon said.In Scotland, more than 2,000 people have joined forces to send clothing, blankets, and other needed supplies to those fleeing across borders. Coordinated by the Dumfries and Galloway Refugee Action charity group, Latter-day Saints joined with others by dropping off much needed supplies to a local Mormon church, one of 30 local collection sites.
In Germany, several Munich congregations joined together to assist a local refugee shelter by constructing an interior wall, sorting donated clothing, and by providing 170 packages of hygiene products, cereal bars, drawing utensils and cuddly toys. The Darmstadt congregation is cooperating with several local charities throughout the year to help facilitate donations of clothing, furniture and other goods to refugees.

Scottish Aid to Syrian Refugees


Scottish Aid to Refugees

Members link with local group to offer help to Europe refugees

The plight of refugees struggling to get to a country where they can live in peace is well known throughout the world but after seeing the recent refugees across Europe Moxie DePaulitte from the charity group, ‘Dumfries and Galloway Refugee Action’, decided to help alleviate their suffering. Bishop Goodare of the Dumfries congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Edinburgh, Scotland gave permission for the church building to be used as a collection hub for donations for refugees.
“Moxie DePaulitte started this project on Facebook and within 48 hours 2,000 people had signed up to offer help and give donations. This was not a church initiative. Several of our church members wanted to help in whatever way they could,” he remarked.
Within four days of the plea for donations, hundreds of bags of clothing, camping equipment, toiletries and sleeping mats arrived at the church. Food items were donated by local supermarkets.
That was just the start of an avalanche of goodwill. During the time that the church was open for donations, members and non members worked side by side sorting clothing. Parents brought their children to help in this community service project. Church youth assisted in sorting clothing and bagging items. LDS missionaries also helped in this endeavour. The youth slipped “love notes” into the pockets of clothing as they bagged the items. The notes contained words of encouragement and love to the unknown recipients.
One local food outlet sent pizzas and chips for lunch for all of the volunteers. It was greatly appreciated by everyone. Local supermarkets donated food items to the service project. What started with one collection hub has grown into 22 hubs and more may be set up.
One child commented, “I just see the faces of the people when they open the boxes.”  A lady volunteer spoke of being hugged by other volunteers and “was so glad to be part of a church that opens its doors when help is required.”
Another declared, “It was faith promoting.”
A local woman’s desire has resulted in many volunteers from around Dumfries and Galloway coming together and establishing the start-up of collection hubs housing thousands of donations.  The local council has offered the group two depots for storage and is committed to helping in any way they can. Negotiations with local haulage firms are also underway. The first loads of donations are expected to leave the area shortly for the Syrian refugees in Calais where they are desperately needed to alleviate the suffering and distress of refugees. Church and community were united in providing compassionate service to Syrian refugees.