Humanitarian Services

Caring for the poor and needy is a foundational belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Built on the principles of personal responsibility, community support, self-reliance and sustainability, humanitarian efforts are designed to give individuals and communities the tools they need to improve their own circumstances in permanent and meaningful ways.

Humanitarian service may include emergency response to natural or man-made disasters. It may also be part of a longer-term effort to meet serious and more entrenched human needs, such as alleviating disease.

LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, was created in 1985 in response to the Ethiopian famine. The Church called for a special fast and monetary donation among its membership. Since then, the Church has responded to many other needs around the world.

When a disaster strikes, Latter-day Saints work with local Church leaders, government officials and trusted partners to determine what supplies and food are needed. Materials are then purchased or assembled locally or shipped from Latter-day Saint storehouses. After urgent needs are met, the Church looks for additional ways to aid in long-term efforts.


Humanitarian efforts are also supported through nine signature programs of LDS Charities:

  • Benson Food
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Community Projects
  • Emergency Response
  • Immunization
  • Maternal and Newborn Care
  • Refugee Response
  • Vision Care
  • Wheelchairs

One hundred percent of donations are used for humanitarian efforts. The Church absorbs its own overhead costs and utilizes a global network of volunteers, who generously contribute their time and expertise. Volunteers often live in the communities in which they serve.

The Church also sponsors many other welfare and self-reliance programs, including vocational, rehabilitative, counseling and other services. This includes millions of hours donated by Latter-day Saint doctors, nurses and other Church members each year. Thousands of professionals and volunteers give freely of their time and means to those in need, with no expectation of praise, publicity or reward.

Additional Resources

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