Church Funds Help Relieve Suffering among Refugees
In September, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a commitment of $5 million to help displaced families in response to the recent refugee crisis in Europe, and in a letter dated October 27 (see “Viewpoint: Help the Refugees among Us”), the First Presidency encouraged members to provide assistance to refugees around the world.
After returning from his recent travels across Europe, which included tours of three refugee camps, Elder M. Russell Ballard reported, “Resources the Church has sent are being used very wisely.”
The First Presidency’s invitation to donate to the Humanitarian Fund, noted Elder Ballard, enables the Church to provide resources “to give to the partners that we have identified who are wonderful, good partners that are using the resources we send to alleviate suffering.”
Those partnerships include:
- In a project supported by the Church, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will assist refugees in Greece and the Balkans by offering information about their rights and providing food, water, shelter, and medical care.
- The Church is working with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to help 225,000 refugee children in Italy, including 90,000 in the next six months. Children are receiving clothing, blankets, and toys. Supplementary feeding kits will be available to younger children and their parents. UNICEF also creates child-friendly spaces in refugee shelters to help children experience an environment that will allow them to deal with trauma and distress.
- In Serbia and Macedonia, the Church is working with Catholic Relief Services to provide food, emergency supplies, and counseling to refugees and their families.
- The Church has funded a mobile medical unit vehicle for MEDU (Physicians for Human Rights) which will deliver medicine and medical supplies, along with food and kitchen utensils, to refugees currently staying in Italy. An open clinic will also be supplied to assist with medical and psychological care.
- With financial assistance from the Church, the International Medical Corps will administer medical and psychological care to refugees arriving on various Greek islands, including Samos and Kos.