Latter-day Saint Life

PBS Praises the Church's Welfare Program: It "Must Be One of the World's Best"


PBS recently featured the Church's welfare program in a short video. The description of the video begins, "There may be other charities that are larger or more helpful, but the welfare tradition within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must be one of the world’s best."

PBS correspondent Lucky Severson looks at every aspect of the welfare system, from fast offerings and donations from members that fund the program to the million and a half volunteer hours that keep it running to the canneries, storehouses, and disaster relief.

Richard Humphreys, manager of the bishop's storehouse, says, "We've had the Department of Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Marines, FEMA, they've all come out and they say, 'Wherever we go . . . we see how the Mormons are always the first one on the site.'"

However, there are a few features of the Church's welfare program that set it apart. First, it seeks to help anyone in need regardless of their religion or background. “It’s not because they’re members or because we feel some obligation because of their beliefs that we help them. This is aid that we give to anybody just because they’re in need, and we feel that it’s the right thing to do," Church welfare director Steve Peterson says.

And second, the welfare program gives out no handouts. Instead, it teaches self-reliance and self-worth by expecting those who receive services to work for it while also helping them to build job skills.

"It helps them feel like they are worth something. I talk to some people and they don't feel like they are worth anything because they can find a job, they can't support their family," Paul Roberts, a local bishop, says. "It helps them understand that they have value and that they can contribute."

Watch the full report below:

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