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Church donates $5.5 million as it expands COVID-19 relief projects

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is dispatching 15 truckloads of commodities a week from its U.S. network of bishops’ storehouses to help food banks across the country.

Recipients in need receive food and other supplies provided by the Salvation Army.
IRI

SALT LAKE CITY — Latter-day Saint Charities is giving $5.5 million in cash donations to five American relief agencies while working on 280 coronavirus pandemic relief projects in more than 80 countries, according to a news release issued Thursday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The release said the church has received an unprecedented number of humanitarian requests made around the world. Two weeks ago, the church said it had approved 110 pandemic-related projects in 57 countries.

The church also is dispatching 15 truckloads of commodities a week from its U.S. network of bishops’ storehouses to help food banks and other charitable organizations across the country, according to the news release.

The cash donations are being made to long-time, trusted partners of the church and Latter-day Saint Charities.

“We’re deeply concerned about those we consider to be our brothers and sisters who are suffering because of COVID-19,” Bishop Gérald Caussé, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement in the news release. “We want to help and know we can rely on these trusted partners, who are already doing so much good, to reach those who are in greatest need.”

He said the church will also provide and generate additional volunteers via its volunteering website, JustServe.org, to help with local service opportunities around the country. The website now includes a specific category for finding volunteer opportunities related to the pandemic. It also has a category of opportunities for volunteering from home.

“Our church members, who can be found in every community, are also willing to lend a hand through volunteer service projects,” Bishop Caussé said.

The church released the following information about the organizations receiving the $5.5 million in cash donations, along with the comments from the organizations’ leaders.

  • Convoy of Hope of Springfield, Illinois, will use the money to help feed those in need in the Midwest.

“This generous gift came at a pivotal time,” Convoy of Hope CEO Hal Donaldson said. “Convoy of Hope is well on its way to reaching the goal of delivering 10 million meals to those hit hardest by the coronavirus.”

  • Feeding America, a nationwide network of food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, will use the money to assist in the country’s hardest-hit areas.

“We are incredibly thankful for the support of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during this time of increased need,” Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said. “Their donation will help provide more meals and other essential resources to people who need them most.”

  • Partnership With Native Americans will purchase food, water and personal health products for Native American reservations, mostly throughout the western U.S.

“Our motto has always been ‘Don’t leave Native Americans behind’ and that’s more critical now than ever,” said Joshua Arce, president and CEO of the Addison, Texas-based organization. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is honoring this and helping us continue our vital deliveries to the reservations in need.”

  • The Salvation Army plans to use the funds it receives to provide food, personal protective equipment and hygiene items around the United States.

“Across America, millions are worried about where their next meal will come from. They need food now,” Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, commander of the Salvation Army’s USA Western Territory. “So to help meet that need, The Salvation Army is proud to partner with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Working together, we’re determined to make a difference for anyone and everyone affected by this pandemic.”

  • The United Way will continue to provide relief across the country.

“United Way extends our deepest gratitude for the generosity and compassion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” United Way Worldwide U.S. President Suzanne McCormick said. “The donation of $1 million to the United Way Community Response and Recovery Fund will provide critical support to communities across the U.S. and to the 211 teams who are working around the clock to help our most vulnerable populations find the help they need in the face of this pandemic.”