In these difficult times with the entire world combating COVID-19, it can be reassuring to know that certain organizations are reaching out to those in need. With small businesses struggling to stay afloat, unemployment and the limitation of basic goods available to the public, it can be comforting to know that some of the most vulnerable in society can receive help.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example, an international church which is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, has given generously to help various programs for disadvantaged community members in New Mexico. In the past year alone, the church has provided food, commodities, funds and volunteers to assist organizations and projects in the general Albuquerque area and throughout the state. Three such partners include the New Mexico Hunger Action Fund, the Jewish Care Program and the Good Shepherd Center. Donations and grants to these partners are paid through the Church Humanitarian Fund.
The church currently helps with approximately 15 different projects and organizations in New Mexico by providing food and/or other necessities – toothpaste, toilet paper, razor blades, disposable diapers, dishwashing liquid, etc. – through its Bishops’ Storehouse in Albuquerque. In some cases, it also gives monetary donations to support valuable services in the community. Although many of the resources are available to its own members in need, as of 2020, about 40% of its goods from the Bishops’ Storehouse assist those in need in our community. For certain projects, the church also provides volunteers from its membership.
One such partner is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico Hunger Action Fund. In an effort to improve the general lifestyle of children and adults in the state who combat hunger, Lujan Grisham initiated this fund. To support this project, the church has provided and continues to donate food from the Bishops’ Storehouse in Albuquerque. Plans are currently being made to distribute food to about 45 different hub centers throughout the state. Other generous sponsors and donors have also contributed to this worthy cause.
The church also recently gave a monetary grant to the Holocaust Survivor Care program, which is part of the Jewish Care Program of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. The Holocaust Survivor Care program offers a support system, a case worker to assist with a Holocaust survivor’s care and needs, an advocate to obtain restitution funds from Germany, and every effort to ensure each individual enjoys a good quality of life. Regular social gatherings are held so that Holocaust survivors can meet and connect with one another. The funds donated by the church assist with these various services.
The Good Shepherd Center is another partner that received support from the church and the Bishops’ Storehouse. The Good Shepherd Center, a homeless shelter which was founded by Brother Mathias in 1951, offers overnight shelter for men; daily meals for men, women and children; men’s clothing; medical respite beds; and a substance abuse recovery program. It is the oldest continuous running homeless shelter in Albuquerque and served 166,795 full meals and provided 26,662 bed nights for 1,339 unduplicated guests in 2019. The Bishops’ Storehouse grant will provide food and basic supplies for the shelter, which will enable it to go forward with its work. Some temporary adjustments to its services have been made, however, during this time of social distancing.
The church continues to provide food, supplies, funds and volunteers to serve the communities of New Mexico as well as other areas in the United States and world. Especially in these challenging times, it seeks to help the disadvantaged and those who are most vulnerable by working with responsible partners who share in this common objective. During a period of uncertainty and upheaval, these contributions and services provide not only help but also hope to those in need.