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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has approved more than 110 COVID-19 relief projects, mostly with “trusted partners,” in 57 countries, according to a letter Tuesday from the faith’s governing First Presidency.
Such partnerships, church President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring, wrote, allowed the Utah-based faith “to use our resources — including food, hygiene products, personal protective equipment, medical equipment, cash and other commodities — in places where they can do the most good.”
It mentions that the church’s Beehive Clothing facilities in Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, the Philippines and Utah will temporarily shift their operations from manufacturing religious clothing to sewing masks (at all locations) and gowns (in Utah only) for medical workers.
The letter does not, however, spell out how much of the church’s vast “rainy day” funds — pegged in the tens of billions by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal — has been spent on these humanitarian efforts.
Instead, it focuses on how the faith has mobilized members to “help with some of these projects,” said Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities and a member of the all-female Relief Society general presidency.
In Utah, a news release notes, Latter-day Saint women are “organizing members to participate in a partnership between Latter-day Saint Charities, Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health to help sew 5 million clinical face masks to be donated to health care workers.”
These are only some of the faith’s efforts to alleviate suffering due to the coronavirus.
In January, the church sent two planes filled with protective medical equipment to China.
Nelson, who was a renowned heart surgeon and performed his final operation in China in 1985, directed the donation, after hearing from his longtime friends in the Asian nation of a need for protective equipment at the Children’s Medical Center in Shanghai.
In the conclusion to Tuesday’s missive to the faithful, the presidency “invited” those in the 16.5 million-member church to “participate in these and other relief projects in their areas and communities as opportunities arise and as local government directives and personal circumstances allow.”