The Church of Jesus Christ gives an additional $4 million to help refugees in Europe, including Jesuit Refugee Services in Ukraine, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has committed an additional US$4 million, roughly €3.6 million, to humanitarian efforts in Europe. This donation will help these seven projects:

  • Food for food hubs in Europe, where this sustenance will be picked up and delivered to those in need within Ukraine.
  • Project HOPE’S efforts to provide refugees with first aid, medication, hygiene supplies, infant care kits, shelter and trauma counseling.
  • International Medical Corps’ work to provide refugees in Poland with medication, medical equipment and personal protective gear.
  • Food for Estonia Food Bank to feed 17,500 refugees for one month.
  • Underwear and clothing for 30,000 women and children at the Polish border, distributed via the Przemysl Municipality.
  • The Association of Neonatologists of Ukraine’s efforts to provide antibiotics for infants in Ukraine. Some newborns are suffering from fungal lung disease because they are being born in hospital basements. These antibiotics will be administered through established clinics within the country.
  • Jesuit Refugee Service’s work to provide shelter, transportation, food, water, medical care and psychological support for children and the elderly in Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

The Church of Jesus Christ continues to be engaged in many other similar projects throughout Europe. These are detailed below.

In Hungary, the Church has been very active in ministering to Ukrainian refugees. Tents, temporary beds, sleeping bags, and hygiene kits have been donated to two major NGOs operating in Hungary: the Red Cross and the Order of Malta. These items were received at the train station in Zahony. Space for storage was limited, so the Church purchased and donated large containers as well. That opened more space in the rail station for incoming refugees.

Additional deliveries were made to the Hungarian city of Diosjeno, where the local mayor accepted 100 temporary beds and 96 sleeping bags for refugees staying there.  Another delivery was made to nearby Miskolc where the Red Cross received the same number of temporary beds and sleeping bags, plus 10 large tents. According to Sister Jan Boardman, a Welfare Services missionary (volunteer), “It is surreal to be in Hungary right now and see the challenges the people of Ukraine are facing. What a privilege and a blessing it is to be part of this relief effort and see so many hands lifting others.”

In the United Kingdom, volunteers in the JustServe network supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, working through existing organizations, have gathered and shipped food, medical supplies, and clothing items for struggling friends in Ukraine. The British Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Nottingham Polish Community, the Polish Centre, and Care4 Humanity are just a few of the charities Church members have joined with in their relief efforts. From Billingham in north England to Poole in the south, hygiene items, supplies for children and other items filled trucks bound for the border of Ukraine and Poland.

This vast response has been so immediate that NGOs on the ground are working on distribution logistics to help refugees receive what they most need. Sister Chris Morris from the Lichfield stake (similar to a diocese), said of her experiences, “It brought me a feeling of peace to be able to do something hands-on to help, even if it was only in a small way.” For more information or to get involved, visit www.justserve.org.

In the Balearic District of Spain, the Relief Society (women’s service organization) organized a collection drive at their chapel to gather food items and medical supplies.  Church members and community friends generously donated and the youth of the congregation packed boxes for shipment to refugees through NGOs Save Ukraine and Association of Aid to Ukraine.  The supplies filled over 20 large boxes. As they delivered the boxes to NGOs, several Church members spoke briefly to Ukrainian volunteers about their journey and hardships.

For Church member refugees and Church members across Europe, this is an unsettling time of stress and anxiety.  Recently, the Church provided a digital and printed manual titled How to Minister to Others During a Crisis. It shares ideas and perspectives on how members can support and strengthen each other during difficult times.

Sister Sibylle Fingerle, an Area Organization Advisor (Church leader) for several European countries, elaborated, “Many people we speak to are very burdened with seemingly one life challenge after another. How can we feel calm and at peace in these times? We need to have a mental resilience and strength to survive both emotionally and spiritually. This need is real and necessary now more than ever.”  

Here is a link to the How to Minister to Others During a Crisis manual.

Welfare and Self Reliance Services also provided a short summary with links to the manual in several languages.

As this humanitarian crisis continues, many members want to help but aren’t sure how. Church leaders, over decades of relief efforts, have developed a proven approach to identifying needs and offering assistance. An important part of this approach is allowing local leaders to use the Church’s financial resources to purchase goods and services in each local economy to help provide what is truly needed there. 

As Area Advisor Sister Fingerle so aptly stated, “we need to lift where we stand and help how we can. We should focus our efforts on the one. The Saviour asked people to come to him and [one by one they came]” (3 Nephi 11:14,15).

Image credit: JustServe (volunteer organization) in the United Kingdom supplied food items including canned soup to refugees through their NGO partnerships 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.