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HomeLocal NewsUtahChurch of Jesus Christ expands aid to women, children with $55.8M donation

Church of Jesus Christ expands aid to women, children with $55.8M donation

SALT LAKE CITY — When she saw the work being done to benefit women and young children around the world last year, Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson said those efforts would expand.

“Global progress starts with nourishing children and strengthening women,” she said. “When you bless a woman, you bless a family, a community, a nation. When you bless a child, you invest in the future. And so, the church has taken a leadership role in bringing together eight global humanitarian organizations focused on projects benefiting women and children.”

President Johnson announced the official expansion on Wednesday, with an additional $55.8 million donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help women and children under age 5 in 12 countries. In all, the money will reach 12 million children and 2.7 million women who are pregnant or have recently delivered a baby.

The donation will provide nutritional support and resources to those populations worldwide, as the well-being of women and young children is a “major focus” of the church’s humanitarian efforts, President Johnson said.

The organizations involved in the multinational efforts include CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Helen Keller Int., iDE, MAP International, Save the Children, the Hunger Project and Vitamin Angles.

The goal is to help the organizations scale their work to reach more women, as an estimated 3 billion people around the world are not able to afford healthy food; and more than 148 million children are not growing properly, while another 45 million are too thin, a church press release states.

President Johnson said when mothers are healthy and can provide nutritious meals, children thrive. As she has traveled the world, President Johnson said she has seen that all mothers want to feed their children.

Our singular purpose is to reach the day when no mother bears the pain of watching her child suffer from malnutrition.

–Sister J. Anette Dennis, Relief Society General Presidency

Countries receiving aid through this donation are Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

President Johnson said the church “strives to care for those in need” through humanitarian efforts and brings together global organizations to help. In the same way, she said, local Relief Societies help with local humanitarian needs around the world.

“Often the best humanitarian outreach is to those closest to us, in everyday acts of kindness,” she said.

Sister Kristin M. Yee, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, commented on the announcement from Guadalajara, Mexico — where she has observed the church’s humanitarian efforts for women and children.

She said the church represents each of its members with humanitarian outreach on a global scale, but sometimes women only need to reach across the fence or street to help others. In Mexico, Sister Yee said she has seen many examples of Relief Society members meeting local needs and each woman has unique abilities to help.

“When we see a need, we step in and bring people together to help solve problems and to meet needs within our own spheres of influence. We bring the love and relief of Jesus Christ to all of God’s children,” she said.

First Counselor of the Relief Society General Presidency, Sister J. Anette Dennis, said she has seen in Accra, Ghana, how the collaboration with aid organizations is running, adding that it is “inspiring and exciting” to see how hard everyone is working — a testament that they are invested in child nutrition and mothers’ health.

“Our singular purpose is to reach the day when no mother bears the pain of watching her child suffer from malnutrition. Every child deserves a healthy start to life, and ultimately the ability to reach their full potential,” she said.

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