Love at Home

  • 26 January 2011

A young boy in a Dominican Republic home for abandoned children receives with excitement a donation of clothing and toys from LDS Charities.

Article Highlights

  • Individuals can join the effort to improve the lives of people around the world by visiting LDScharities.org.

“The churches are working together regardless of race, color, or religion to help the needy because that is the labor that Jesus Christ wants—that we work together for those that need it the most.”
—Andrea Vasquez, Catholic Social Services

“I’ve used the same clothes for a long time,” a young boy said. “I don’t remember the last time we had new clothes.”

In the Dominican Republic, Pastor Joel Peña and his wife, Maria, work to create a home for orphaned boys at International Alliance Ministries. Many of the boys have been abandoned. Some come from abusive backgrounds. Others wandered in from the street.

“We’re a family here, not an orphanage,” Pastor Peña said. “I came from a world of suffering as well. I came from the street, and I know what it’s like.”

When Pastor Peña called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for help, LDS Charities partnered with Food for the Poor (an interdenominational Christian relief organization) and the Catholic Church in Santo Domingo to bring boxes of clothes, toys, food, and other basics for the children.

One of the boys had never owned a ball but had always wanted one. “When the boxes came out, I saw the ball that I wanted,” he said. [The people from LDS Charities] put air in it for me, and they played with me.”

Latter-day Saint Charities often partners with other faith-based organizations and governments to bring assistance to the needy. Last year, volunteers contributed more than one million man–days of labor supporting welfare initiatives.

“The churches are working together regardless of race, color, or religion to help the needy because that is the labor that Jesus Christ wants—that we work together for those that need it the most,” said Andrea Vasquez of Catholic Social Services.

Although it can be difficult to feed and clothe the boys, the Peñas find joy in seeing and nourishing the potential of each one.

“Inside each of these children is a great spirit,” Pastor Peña said. “All they need is a little help. We’re trying to help them become good men for tomorrow so hopefully they will make a better world for us to live in.”

To find information about giving to this effort, visit LDScharities.org.