The principle of serving our fellowmen is not new. In all dispensations, the Church has been dedicated to helping the poor and needy.
Thirty years ago, on January 27, 1985, that dedication was exemplified during a special fast where Church members donated U.S. $6 million to help famine victims in Ethiopia. This marked the beginning of what would become LDS Charities. That same year, a fast in November raised another $5 million for hunger relief. Those two fasts greatly accelerated the work in our time.
In the 30 years since those fasts, the Church has delivered $1.2 billion in assistance to people who are suffering. That includes food, shelter, medical supplies, clothing, and relief items. In addition, LDS Charities has offered long-term aid through initiatives that provide wheelchairs, immunizations, clean water, family nutrition, vision care, and maternal and newborn care. The Church partners with other reputable humanitarian organizations to make the most of all donations.
President Thomas S. Monson has often taught that, as members of the Church, we have a responsibility to help the hungry, homeless, and downtrodden. Members of the Church have risen to the challenge. Without much fanfare or formal thanks, they have quietly contributed millions of hours of service and hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition to contributing to the humanitarian fund on the donation slip, members have given to LDS Philanthropies, served missions, been good friends and neighbors, volunteered labor in welfare facilities or communities, and given their time and love to hundreds of thousands of trustworthy local organizations.
As they do so, they begin to fulfill what the Savior taught about taking care of the poor and needy:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in. …
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:35, 40).