News Release

Church of Jesus Christ Extends Helping Hands to 91 Fire-Affected Families in Tondo

To promote global humanitarian efforts and assist the local community of Tondo, Manila, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints initiated hope to Happy Land, Tondo residents whose lives were upended by a fire tragedy in December 2023.
Last January 26, 2024, The Church of Jesus Christ’s humanitarian services provided cooking pots, kitchenware, gas burners, sleeping sheets and pads, and food kits for 91 families who had their homes destroyed. The church also provided building materials to allow some families to finish rebuilding their homes.
According to official reports, over 240 families, or an estimated 1,500 people, were displaced by fire that hit a cluster of shanties at the Happy Land community just before dawn on December 11, 2023.
The fire spread almost immediately, taking nearly four hours to contain. Because of the density of homes made of fire materials in the area, fire authorities said that nearly P300,000 worth of properties were destroyed that day.
When Elder and Sister Huff, Church Humanitarian Missionaries, visited the affected area a few weeks after the tragedy, they were pleasantly surprised that Happy Land residents were already rebuilding their homes and community.
“It was heartwarming to see the residents already busy with rebuilding efforts just three weeks after the fire,” the Huffs said.
“The initial assessment of the damage and needs of the people proved valuable to determine what would be the most helpful for the displaced families – most of which are living in cramped tents until they can rebuild their homes,” they added.
On the turnover day, over 20 church volunteers from the Tondo Philippines Stake and five full-time missionaries helped prepare and assemble the donated items. To facilitate the smooth distribution of the donated items, the Church worked with the Upskills Foundation, which designs and implements poverty reduction programs in the Philippines.
Jane Walker, the founder of Upskill Foundation, said, “I am amazed at how quickly they work! They are sorting and putting the supplies together so quickly. I have never seen such an efficient organization”.
After the kits were all assembled, the Happy Land residents came and collected their goods. They were very grateful to receive the cooking kits, kitchen kits and cooking stoves that will enable them to prepare their daily meals more efficiently. For the past month, they had no way to cook their rice unless they used charcoal fires, which could prove dangerous in the area.
Since its early days, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided aid to people worldwide without regard to cultural or religious affiliation. Key projects include emergency response, vision care, maternal and newborn care, disability assistance and care, clean water projects, immunization programs, food initiatives, and food security drives.
Church humanitarian work primarily helps those in need who are not members of the Church. There are many people in virtually any community in the world who struggle to meet their basic needs.
Humanitarian projects are funded by donations from Church members and others. One hundred percent of these donations go directly to help the poor and needy. In-kind material assistance is provided through items donated by Church members and others.
Church humanitarian efforts relieve suffering for families of all nationalities and religions and offer hope with the potential for a better life for millions of people around the world.

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