SALT LAKE CITY — Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is providing much-needed aid and supplies for thousands of Afghan refugees escaping the turmoil of Kabul and arriving in Qatar, church officials said Tuesday.
Many of these individuals and families had to flee their homes with only the clothes on their backs. Latter-day Saint Charities provided clothing, shoes, hygiene supplies, baby formula, diapers, wipes and small toys for the children.
"We saved lives and bridged the gap for the first three days for thousands of Afghan refugees. Without this, I shudder to think what might have happened. The donations from Latter-day Saint Charities were heaven-sent," Jonathan Dawson, a Latter-day Saint leader in the area, said in a press release from the church.
Latter-day Saints and friends in the region contacted local stores, many of which offered significant discounts on the items, and obtained enough supplies to fill 90 passenger vans. Volunteers worked around the clock to distribute the lifesaving supplies to the refugees as they arrived.
"It is inspiring to witness Latter-day Saints and our friends reaching out to help immediately and tirelessly. The Church of Jesus Christ has a long history of aiding refugees, and this will continue to be a priority. Our concern is for all who suffer. We anticipate ongoing needs and are prepared to respond as appropriate," said Elder Anthony D. Perkins, president of the church's Middle East/Africa North Area.
All known members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were deployed or working in Afghanistan are out of the country and accounted for, according to the church.