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LDS Church donates millions to UNICEF food program

By Genelle Pugmire - | Sep 21, 2022

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

Konata, a 24-year-old mother of two children, with her 12-month-old daughter Mariam, at the Health Center of Bobo-Dioulasso, in the Southwestern region of Burkina Faso.

After giving its largest ever humanitarian aid donation to the United Nations World Food Programme last week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Wednesday a $5 million donations to UNICEF’s “No Time to Waste” malnutrition campaign.

Children who are 5 years old and younger — in up to 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Middle East and the Philippines — will be helped with malnourishment through the No Time to Waste campaign.

“We are pleased to support UNICEF’s efforts to assist children experiencing malnutrition since this program closely aligns with the Church’s global focus on early childhood nutrition,” said Bishop L. Todd Budge, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ, in a press release.

Up to 41 million children are currently suffering from malnutrition that could be impacted in the first year of the new programming.

“The scale of this crisis requires actions that go beyond the immediate humanitarian response,” said Catherine Russell, executive director of UNICEF, at a recent conference in Berlin. “We also need to invest in building stronger, more resilient food, health, and social protection systems that all children rely on – and that help communities and countries prevent and respond to future crises.”

The Church’s donation will include materials to assist with the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition. This will include a focus on wasting, the most immediate, visible and life-threatening form of malnutrition.

“This funding comes in small increments from hard-working families and from widows who have limited incomes and from little children themselves,” said Sharon Eubank, director of the Church’s Humanitarian Services. “It was given by Latter-day Saints so that mothers will have healthier pregnancies and births and they can offer therapeutic food and micronutrients to their children who might be at risk.”

Eubank’s recorded remarks were shared in New York City at a United Nations General Assembly side event on Wednesday wherein nonprofit and private sector leaders engaged in the fight to end child malnutrition.

The church expects their contribution to benefit:

  • Thousands of children with ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF), vitamin supplements, micronutrient fortification, early detection screenings and related treatment
  • Thousands of women with nutrition counseling, weight-gain monitoring, multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS) and related treatment
  • Dozens of healthcare workers with trainings to treat uncomplicated wasting while also significantly reducing financial burden on parents

UNICEF is planning to work with ministries of health, local organizations and community health systems to implement the program and provide direct family education, training and resources, according to a church press release.

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