When severe storms and typhoons devastated southern India in October 2009, young men and young adults from the Hyderabad and Bangalore India Districts sprang into action to help relieve the suffering of those affected by the floods.
According to President Prasada Gudey of the Hyderabad India District, “Our young men did a wonderful work in delivering food and water to those in need. The goods had been donated and had arrived in the province, but the government was not able to deliver them to the thousands of victims in more than 200 refugee camps. Our members stood out with their Mormon Helping Hands vests as they carried out their efficient work in getting the food and water to everyone.”
Some of the young men and young adults who served commented on how enjoyable and fulfilling service can be.
Did You Know?
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that a true Latter-day Saint “is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other, or in no church at all, wherever he finds them” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 426). Because of our desire to serve others, the Church sponsors humanitarian relief and development projects around the world. For example, in 2009:
There were 763,737 days of donated labor at Church welfare facilities.
Over 8,000 missionaries served in Welfare Services.
Between 1985 and 2011, the Church has given humanitarian assistance to 178 countries. Some specific projects include the following:
Providing disaster relief after earthquakes in Haiti, Indonesia, Chile, and Japan; after a tsunami in Samoa; and after a typhoon in the Philippines.
Funding a measles vaccination campaign in Africa.
Sending out 10.3 million hygiene, newborn, and school kits.
Distributing over 61,000 tons of food; over 13,000 tons of medical supplies; and over 89,000 tons of clothing.
For more information about the Church welfare program, see providentliving.org.
Photographs by Charles and Carol Kewish; painting of Joseph Smith by Dan Weggeland, courtesy of Church History Museum