The humanitarian efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints increased in 2020 due in part to its global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, has released its 2020 Annual Report, which outlines more than 3,600 projects in 160 countries during the year, including the Church’s response to the pandemic.
“[We] truly seek to live the first and second great commandments. When we love God with all our hearts, He turns our hearts to the well-being of others in a beautiful, virtuous cycle,” said President Russell M. Nelson.
Latter-day Saint Charities joined with more than 2,000 partners to serve millions of people of all backgrounds last year.
Since 1985, Latter-day Saint Charities and its affiliates have provided over US$2.5 billion worth of assistance in 199 countries and territories. This amount does not include the value of volunteer labor, worth many millions of dollars.
The Church’s coronavirus response effort alone included more than 1,000 projects in over 150 countries and territories, thanks to the support of its partners and donors. Latter-day Saint Charities provided medical and emergency supplies, trained health care professionals, raised awareness in communities, and delivered food to some of the most vulnerable people globally. The response was the Church’s largest humanitarian effort to date.
- Latter-day Saint Charities partnered with the humanitarian organization Convoy of Hope to provide 30 million meals to feed school children in nine developing countries and territories.
- In Somalia, Latter-day Saint Charities joined with the World Food Programme to provide 35,000 nutritious meals to children and their families at home after their schools closed in response to COVID-19. The food supply lasted for at least five months while schools were closed.
- Latter-day Saint Charities, along with partners at Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health, embarked on ProjectProtect, one of the largest volunteerism efforts in Utah since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. More than 57,000 volunteers were mobilized to sew over 6 million medical-grade face masks by the end of the initiative. It became a template for other successful personal protective equipment efforts around the globe.
- In the U.S. and Canada, 53 projects were carried out to provide support to immigrants, refugees, and the homeless. Production schedules at Church-owned canneries and food processing plants in the U.S. were adjusted to meet the increased community needs. The corn, peaches, wheat, and other crops were grown on Church farms.
In 2020, the Church sent over 800 truckloads of food to 380 food banks, homeless shelters, and charitable agencies throughout the U.S. In all, more than 26 million meals were provided to those in need.
Latter-day Saint Charities took part in giving over 105,000 pounds of food to those who lost their employment in Orange County, California, due to the unexpected challenges of the pandemic.
Outside North America, the Church works with local grocery chains to help provide food to members in need.
Summary of Initiatives in 2020
- Clean Water: 593,025 people in 23 countries and territories
- Emergency Response: 1,147 projects in 158 countries and territories
- Food Security: 357,378 people in 18 countries and territories; 114 scholarships awarded in 11 countries and territories
- Immunization: 10 campaigns to eliminate diseases in developing countries
- Maternal and Newborn Care: 16,473 people in nine countries and territories
- Refugee Response: 294 projects in 50 countries and territories
- Vision Care: 401,548 people in 17 countries and territories
- Wheelchairs: 17,381 people in 16 countries and territories
- International Community Projects: 654 projects in 99 countries and territories
- U.S. and Canada Community Projects: 50 states and 3 provinces
In 2020, Latter-day Saint Charities provided funds to 23 agencies to benefit more than 1.8 million refugees, internally displaced people, and host community members in 39 countries with emergency food, shelter, water, sanitation, and health support. In the U.S., nearly 9,000 people were supported in resettlement efforts.
Latter-day Saint Charities utilizes Just Serve as its volunteer arm, connecting people to service opportunities where they can make a difference in their own communities.
Since JustServe was created in 2012, more than 570,000 volunteers have registered for more than 100,000 projects from nearly 11,000 organizations. In 2020, almost 75,000 volunteers registered to help with nearly 20,000 new projects from more than 2,000 new organizations. For more information, visit JustServe.org.