LDS Charities has issued a Humanitarian Update (on paper with the cover shown here; with even more photographs and information at their online link) describing some of the people and projects that have received recent attention from your donations. These include:
* A report on recovery efforts in Haiti and Chile following the January/February earthquakes. The article emphasizes the service of local members in those areas as well as the Church’s ongoing humanitarian efforts in both countries. “At a member’s house in the foothills above Santiago, Relief Society sisters and young women made desperately needed blankets. Some measured and cut sections of polyester fleece from large rolls. Others hemmed the edges and embroidered the words ten fe y se valiente – ‘have faith and be brave.’”
* An account of the cooperation of LDS Charities with the Henry Schein Cares Global Donation Program, a distributor of health care products to office-based health practitioners. With donations furnished by LDS Charities and the organization and contacts of Henry Schein Cares, supplies have been airlifted to Haiti, Dominican Republic, Antigua, El Salvador, Colombia, Panama, Zimbabwe, Senegal, and the Ukraine, enabling local health care providers to offer free assistance to underserved populations.
* News on efforts in various parts of Africa, usually to provide safe drinking water through the digging of wells, and hygiene instruction to curb infant mortality. Women, who furnish the labor for hauling water from distant sources, are often the chief beneficiaries of these projects, it appears. “Women and children line up their buckets at sunrise and for the next two hours take turns pumping clean water for their cooking needs that day. This needed ritual takes place every morning. Women carry as much as 40 pounds of water on their heads and small children carry up to 15 pounds on theirs, but it is much less time-consuming than walking a mile or more for water.”
* Reports on equipment donated to hospitals in Ethiopia and Jordan. An Ethiopian official is quoted, in reference to the senior missionaries serving in his country, “They don’t care what color we are. They don’t care what religion we are, Christian or Muslim. They just want to help us.” The father of a Jordanian student whose sight was restored using donated equipment and the training provided by LDS volunteers “sent a beautiful flower arrangement to the hospital, calling her restored sight ‘a gift from God.’”
* An account of a system developed by the Benson Institute to use underground greenhouses in the cold, high altitude villages of Bolivia, to raise vegetables for families whose children are malnourished from the lack of produce grown the normal way. “Not only did we teach how to grow the vegetables, we showed how to cook and prepare them so they tasted good. That’s key when eating vegetables is not a customary thing.”
* A report, illustrated by the story of one man in the Dominican Republic, of LDS Charities’ efforts to provide wheelchairs in places where they are otherwise unavailable. Says Riqui Perez, “After I received my first wheelchair, doors opened to me. I began to make friends, got my first job, then formed a family.”
* The story of six-year-old Zachary Bird and his schoolmates, who raised funds for charitable work through small activities like Zack’s lemonade stand. “With Zack’s help, the school and the community raised nearly $1,300 – enough to buy 15 wheelchairs for those in need.”
The articles, though brief, are packed with information and are remarkably light on groveling for dollars or on self-congratulation. They give a broad idea of the types of charitable work being done around the world, supported by Latter-day Saints who make contributions via the Humanitarian Aid line on tithing slips, or directly through the LDS Charities website.
Consider this a plug not only for LDS Charities but also for LDS Philanthropies, which offers more opportunities to help when you can spare a little beyond your tithing and fast offerings: Help a Latter-day Saint who otherwise may never have the opportunity to travel to a temple for her own ordinances. Support the Perpetual Education Fund. Help fund a missionary who has no resources of his own. There’s something to appeal to just about every charitable taste.