News Release

Church Provides Food and Water for Over 20,000 El Niño Victims in Cebu

Last May 27, 2024, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded to the dire effects of the El Niño phenomenon by providing more than 4,000 food packs and clean drinking water to over 20,000 beneficiaries living in the mountain barangays of Busay, Bonbon, Sirao, and Babag in Cebu City.

The Cebu City Philippines Stake, under the leadership of President Dennis Dan Nuñez, organized the repacking of the food packs, drinking water bottles, and water containers for the residents of these four mountain barangays, which were severely affected by the prolonged lack of rain. The cost of the emergency kits, food packs, drinking water, and other items exceeded PHP 5.4 million (USD 97,000).

Over 100 Latter-day Saints volunteered to repack the relief items, fully displaying their commitment to service. Their collective effort and previous experiences in crisis situations made certain that the repacking was completed in a remarkably short time. It was reported that they worked through the night. The items were ready for distribution hours before the local government of Cebu collected them for distribution.

Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia expressed his gratitude to the Church. In a brief message before the distribution, he said: “The city government is here to help and serve its constituents, but we know we cannot help everyone. So today, we can see how our partners, the private sector, and the Church help us do this part of our job. Because of institutions like yours, it makes our job easier, so we thank you very much for your donation to our constituents, especially the mountain barangays.”

President Nuñez shared that Latter-day Saints are taught not just to believe in the Savior Jesus Christ but to follow His example and help lift others' burdens. “We are happy to do this service to our fellowmen just as Christ would invite us to do and love our neighbors. We are all God’s children.”

The atmosphere during the repacking activity was charged with the spirit of service and love. Danielle, a young woman from Lahug Ward, reflected on the experience, sharing, “I felt the Spirit touch the hearts of the members of our stake. I am grateful for their examples and their service, for I can learn that ‘when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God.’”

Reese Sy, a young single adult from Mabolo Ward, expressed her gratitude, saying, “It was heartwarming to see the number of people who came and volunteered their time to be of service to their neighbors. I am grateful to be with a community of people who love to serve.”

Judy Sanico from Bacayan Ward, reflecting on the experience, remarked, “My daughter and I had the wonderful privilege of serving our the other day. Putting other people's needs before your own can strengthen your relationship not just with others but also with our Savior Jesus Christ. When we serve, we demonstrate to God that we care for and love them. As I watched the members repack the relief goods, I noticed the beautiful smiles painted on their faces, knowing that they truly love what they do. I'm delighted that my family was part of this call.”

Emergency Relief Efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' emergency relief efforts are rooted in following the Savior’s example of helping those in need. As individuals receive aid and learn principles of self-reliance, they are better able to feel God's love and provide for their families.

Across the globe, the Church focuses on helping individuals prepare for and respond to crises, such as natural disasters, civil unrest, war, emergency situations, and famine.

The Church’s emergency response efforts are not just about providing immediate aid, but also about empowering individuals through the principles of preparation and self-reliance. By counseling its members to prepare for disasters and other emergency situations, the Church instills a sense of capability and empowerment, guiding them to live within their means, set aside monetary savings, and establish food and water storage.

Almost all who are affected by emergencies will experience psychological distress. Through its Family Services organization, the Church renders psychological first aid worldwide to assist those impacted by emergencies.

As communities receive temporal and emotional relief from the Church, they can overcome crises, rise above disasters, and build anew. The Church often works with local governments to address citizens' needs during emergencies and other crises.

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