Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are asking members around the world to perform a “Day of Service” to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Church’s welfare program.
The Day of Service should be done on a ward or stake basis sometime during this year. Local Church leaders will decide the details of each project and Latter-day Saints are encouraged to invite neighbors and friends of the Church to participate.
“The feelings of unity will multiply the good effects of the service you give. And those feelings of unity in families, in the Church, and in communities grow and will become a lasting legacy long after the project ends,” President Eyring said.
President Eyring said human beings have a natural desire to reach out and help those who suffer.
“Great temporal needs of the children of Heavenly Father have come again in our time as they have and as they will in all times. The principles at the foundation of the Church Welfare Program are not only for one time or one place. They are for all times and all places," he said.
About the Welfare Program
The Church’s Welfare Program began in 1936 to help Church members suffering from the devastating effects of the Great Depression in the United States. Today, that welfare program has expanded to all corners of the globe and assists people of all faiths.
The objective of the welfare program is to care for the needy while teaching principles that will help people become self-reliant and retain their self-respect. The program also provides all Latter-day Saints opportunities to serve, thus fulfilling the commandment Jesus Christ gave to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick.
Funding for the welfare program is provided by donations from Church members, who go without two meals one Sunday a month and give the money they would have spent on food to the Church.
Needy people are identified by the leader (bishop) of the local congregation, with the assistance of the president of the Relief Society—a woman from the congregation who serves as the leader of the women’s organization. Congregation sizes are kept to within a few hundred people so local leaders can know their members.
Here are some of the key elements of the Mormon welfare program:
Bishops’ storehouses have often been compared to supermarkets without tills. Food and household items are provided to those who cannot afford them and who bring a written requisition signed by their local bishop. Recipients of commodities are given opportunities to work for what they receive, to the extent of their ability. There are 129 bishops’ storehouses located around the world.
Employment resource service centers provide a place where people can receive job training, learn to enhance their résumé and find job opportunities. There are nearly 300 centers around the world. Volunteers at these centers help hundreds of thousands of people find jobs every year, a large percentage of which are not members of the Church.
Deseret Industries is a nonprofit organization that serves as an employment training facility and operates thrift stores. The stores provide on-the-job experience for refugees or others who need help qualifying for long-term employment. The stores are stocked by individual donations, which are sorted and stocked by the workers and then offered to the public at inexpensive prices.
LDS Family Services
LDS Family Services is a private, nonprofit organization that provides counseling, adoption services, addiction recovery support groups and resources for social, emotional and spiritual challenges.
All of the various aspect of the Mormon welfare program come together on the Provident Living website. The website is full of information and resources to help anyone improve their financial, emotional and physical well-being.