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LDS service missionaries distribute aid to Syrian refugees


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SALT LAKE CITY — LDS Charities is donating more than $1 million in humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees who have fled to Jordan to escape civil war.

Service missions from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Jordan are now delivering humanitarian aid to the 200,000 refugees. These humanitarian efforts began in May, with the delivery of 2,500 hygiene kits to the people of the Zaatari Camp, located near the Syrian-Jordanian border.

In recent months, civil war has caused thousands of Syrians to flee their country, leaving with nothing. One camp had 400 babies under 4 months old.

"We're on the ground and we can buy things in the local market. We didn't send back to Salt Lake and have it shipped," said Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities. "So they turned around in 24 hours and delivered infant formula and diapers, and that's when the Jordanian government realized, ‘Oh, all right, there's a partnership here that when we have a gap they can help.'"

Summer temperatures reached 114 degrees Fahrenheit. But winter is coming to the desert, so some items did come from Salt Lake.

"We've pumped our (Deseret Industries) stores and we've gathered coats, boots, cold weather clothing; and we've shipped those containers, and they'll get there just as the cold weather starts to hit," Eubank said.

This partnership includes members of the Greek Orthodox and Latin Catholic churches as well.

"There's something healing about people saying, ‘We don't care about what religion, what tribe, what gender, what nationality — all of us are working together to benefit you, and you'll never even know us,'" Eubank said.

Nearly $600,000 in supplies have already been donated; another $588,000 will be spent in the coming months to help suffering people who need so much.

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Carole Mikita

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