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Includes community projects in the Tallahassee area
TALLAHASSEE – Local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are participating in a worldwide COVID-19 relief effort.
Members of the church in the Tallahassee Stake, which is comprised of congregations in Tallahassee (7), Perry, Crawfordville, Madison, Quincy, Thomasville, and Cairo are part of a 57-nation effort.
The church leadership recently sent a letter to its members. In the letter, church leaders said, “To date, we have approved over 110 COVID-19 relief projects in 57 countries. Most of these are done with trusted partners from humanitarian agencies, health ministries and hospitals, which allows us 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,” they added.
Locally, the church has long been active in relief efforts. Local projects have included the following:
- Sponsorship of the JustServe community volunteer platform
- Food donations to the Second Harvest of the Big Bend
- Furniture donations and assembly for the International Rescue Committee for refugees
- Participation in the local Meals on Wheels program
- Sewing clubs producing items for those in need
- Hygiene kits for the Days for Girls organization
- Hurricane Michael relief projects
On an international level, the Church’s Beehive Clothing facilities in Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Utah have temporarily shifted their operations from the manufacture of religious clothing to the sewing of
masks and gowns needed by those in the medical field.
“We’re trying to work with governments and community leaders and find out what they need and then respond,” said Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities and a member of the Church’s Relief Society general presidency. “We have mobilized the Relief Society and their families to help with some of these projects.”
“We invite our members 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,” said the letter from the Church’s leadership.
The relief effort has been global in scope.
In Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Latter-day Saint Charities is working with international medical nonprofit MedGlobal, in partnership with Multi-Aid Programs (MAPS), a nongovernmental organization, to provide medical-grade face masks and other personal protective supplies and medications to combat COVID-19. Lebanon has a large Syrian refugee population unable to afford medical services, and the pandemic has put a strain on the country’s health services.
The Church has shipped 10,000 masks from Salt Lake City to Mongolia to be distributed to doctors and other medical workers. The masks were delivered on April 15, 2020, to the Ministry of Health.
In addition, Latter-day Saints in Mongolia have prepared 5,000 sanitation kits that are being donated to those in need. On March 30, 4,000 kits, 100 blankets and 30 newborn blanket kits were donated to the Ministry of Health to be given to various hospitals and clinics. UNICEF is distributing the remaining 1,000 sanitation kits to orphanages in the country. The blankets and newborn kits were made by local church members. Government leaders expressed appreciation for the donations.
Latter-day Saint Charities was mentioned in a news article in Zimbabwe for its donation of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks, gloves and medical gowns, as well as hand sanitizer.
The Church’s donation was mobilized through the Angel of Hope Foundation. Zimbabwe’s First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa is a patron of the organization. Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that some of those face masks have already been allocated to the Zimbabwe Republic Police to ensure officers’ safety while at work.
“Some of the material is still coming, and we are very grateful,” said President Mnangagwa. “There are sanitizers for hand-washing and spraying buses and streets in town, medical gowns, masks and gloves, some of which we have already given to the police.”
“It really has been a broad effort to provide relief and support throughout the world since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shawn Johnson, director of Latter-day Saint Charities.