A mobile bakery delivers Arabic bread daily to tens of thousands of starving refugees in Syria.
An army of yellow-vested volunteers cleans up thousands of debris-riddled homes in Gulf Coast states in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Green-thumbed throngs plant 15,000 tree seedlings in Ghana.
A couple help get wheelchairs to nearly 1,000 patients in South Africa.
Semitrucks deliver tons of beans, rice, pancake mix, syrup and macaroni to food pantries across the U.S.
Take these relief efforts and multiply them by, say, a million or more and you get a glimpse of the range and scope of the worldwide aid provided last year by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In an extended annual report, titled “Caring for Those in Need” and released Friday, the Utah-based faith of 16.8 million members spelled out its humanitarian outreach in 2021. The global tally includes:
• $906 million in charitable spending.
• 6.8 million volunteer hours.
• 3,909 humanitarian projects.
• 104 food security projects.
• 1.74 million served through water programs.
• 199 emergency responses in 61 countries and territories.
• 80 million pounds of donated food.
• 585 COVID-19 projects in 76 nations and territories.
• 188 countries and territories served overall.
“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we commit to living the two great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor,” the governing First Presidency writes in the report’s introduction. “As a church, we are blessed to have the ability, global connections, and resources to follow his admonition.”
The $906 million in spending came through member fast offerings; church welfare programs; church charitable operations; contributions of food, clothing and other goods; along with services from outlets such as Deseret Industries.
The 48-page report did not state whether the faith tapped any of the billions in its reserve funds for the outreach. Leaders have said those “rainy day” accounts help pay for church operations in poorer parts of the world and provide safeguards against credit crunches, stock slides, recessions and natural disasters.
During yet another pandemic year, according to the 2021 humanitarian report, the church boosted its efforts to get the world inoculated. To that end, for instance, it gave $20 million to UNICEF for the fight against COVID-19.
The document notes that the church’s participation with various partners helped distribute 1 billion vaccine doses against diseases of all kinds.
Of course, for every big-dollar donation, there were thousands of smaller acts of kindness.
The report highlights the Andrews family in Alberta, Canada, who at the suggestion of a 5-year-old son, organized a cleanup of a trash-strewn field. Another young member, named Chelsea, collected and published local COVID stories and then donated the book’s proceeds to a food bank.
“Our individual efforts don’t necessarily require money or faraway locations,” Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities, says in the report. “They do require the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a willing heart to say to the Lord, ‘Here am I; send me.’”
More than 105,000 individuals rolled up their sleeves to give blood — helping to save lives with each pint.
“We get 100,000 units of blood from the church every year,” American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern says in a news release. “There is no organization, no institution anywhere, that comes close to that.”
Previous annual reports, including for 2020 and 2019, detailed the work of Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the faith. The 2021 edition covers a much wider range of church assistance.