As disciples of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strive to follow the Savior’s admonition to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and those in prison. The Savior also taught that we are to love and care for each other and visit the fatherless and the widow in their afflictions.
Serve in Your Community
In the October 2011 general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Too often we notice the needs around us, hoping that someone from far away will magically appear to meet those needs. … When we do this, we deprive our neighbor of the service we could render, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to serve.”
Individuals, families, wards, and stakes can help organizations or individuals in their community. You should approach service in your community without any thought of any particular benefit except to make your community better. If you don’t know where to begin, investigate opportunities that will allow you to identify a need that exists. Then tailor your service to meet that need.
Look around your community. What needs or challenges do you see or hear about? Newspapers and schools may also offer information about needs that can be filled. Ask friends in other churches about the service projects in which they are involved. In most metropolitan areas of the United States, you can dial 211 for ideas on how you can serve in your own community. If you identify a need in your community but cannot find an established program that addresses this need, take the initiative to find a solution.
Volunteer on a regular basis, if possible. Serving consistently, rather than only during holidays when many others serve, is beneficial. It also allows you to develop personal relationships with those you serve. If serving regularly is not possible, be willing to contribute whatever you can. Even a little bit will help. Don’t try to make your involvement in community service a missionary opportunity. Your service alone will say much about you and your faith.
Here are some ways you can serve in your local community:
- Volunteer with a local community organization. Good organizations have the following characteristics:
- Beneficiaries are allowed to solve their own problems through participation and work.
- Leadership in the organization is honest and competent.
- Their programs promote self-reliance.
- Support worthy community activities that help the poor meet basic needs or learn skills.
- Help new members of your community learn English (or the local language if outside the United States).
- Assist with literacy programs.
- Volunteer at a local homeless shelter, refugee organization, low-income health clinic, or school.
- Support after-school activities for youth.
- Support local food drives by food banks and pantries.
Donate to the Humanitarian Aid Fund
Donations to the Humanitarian Aid Fund allow the Church to help people throughout the world by providing relief and help so people may help themselves. Thank you for your interest in donating to Humanitarian Services. You can choose from one of the following options to make your donation.
Option 1: Donate through a Local Ward or Branch of the Church
Fill out the Tithing and Other Offerings slip and indicate the amount on the “Humanitarian Aid” line.
Option 2: Mail a Check
Please make your check payable to Humanitarian Services and send it to:Humanitarian Services
c/o LDS Philanthropies
Joseph Smith Memorial Building
15 E. South Temple St. #2E
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
Option 3: Donate Online
Online donations can be made through the Humanitarian Services Giving section of the LDS Philanthropies website. This link will take you directly to the donation page.
If you have questions or would like additional information, you can contact Humanitarian Services by phone at 801-240-1201 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate Items for Local Community Efforts
In response to emergencies, Church leaders often provide Church members opportunities for service. Members close to the affected area, or even in neighboring countries, assemble humanitarian kits and make other needed items. Service that responds to humanitarian needs locally is more effective because:
- Expensive freight costs are avoided.
- Needed materials arrive at the affected area more quickly.
- Locally purchased materials are generally more culturally appropriate.
- Local membership can be mobilized rapidly.
In seeking to help organizations in your own community, you may learn of items they could use that you may be able to make or acquire. Find out what they need and help them as you can. It is not usually helpful for you to make things and then go looking for an organization that can use those items.
The Church welcomes donations to your local Deseret Industries store of new and gently used items, including clothing, household items, and books. In locations where there is not a Deseret Industries store, donations to other charitable organizations are welcomed and appreciated.