In a country that has seen over 1.3 million refugees flood its borders over the last several years, members of the Beirut Branch in Lebanon seek to relieve suffering where they can.
“This is more than an opportunity; in fact, it's a blessing to go and see people who are in need. … The economic and social situation in Lebanon is tragic, so there is a need wherever you look around you. Wherever you go, you find people in need of something specific. Whoever you talk to, you will find that someone needs medical care, someone needs a visit, someone needs a smile, someone needs love, someone needs food, someone needs whatever. Wherever you look there is a specific need,” said the district president, Karim Assouad.
And the members of the Church in Lebanon have taken this to heart. They searched for organizations within their community that were serving refugees and found Caritas Lebanon, a humanitarian organization led by Father Paul Karam of the Catholic Church.
Members of the Beirut Branch gather in their building frequently to assemble boxes of supplies for refugee families. Because Lebanon doesn’t have refugee camps, the millions of displaced people live wherever they can find shelter, often in a great amount of poverty. They work wherever they can, but most do not have enough to meet even their basic needs.
Father Paul Karam expressed his gratitude for the partnership between Caritas and the LDS Church: “Without strong operational partners, we cannot continue. With LDS Charities, I hope that this small project will become bigger and bigger in order to overcome the real needs.”
When it comes to service, religion hasn’t been a barrier for the Beirut Branch. Instead, it’s unified the community as they’ve worked together to bring love and hope to so many who are in need. The district president said, “Sometimes we bring friends from outside the Church [to help us assemble the food boxes]. This makes them happy too. We told them to come and serve. We need you. So serving helps the one who serves and the one who is served—both of them will be happy and will feel joy.”
You don’t have to move to Lebanon to help refugees in need. Search for organizations in your own community that are doing good work and get involved! Visit giveback.lds.org to find opportunities.