General Refugee Fund Established
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“General Refugee Fund Established,” Ensign, Sept. 1980, 78

General Refugee Fund Established

We call them refugees. They are the countryless, the homeless, the uncared-for and, all too often, the unwanted. The last decade has seen their numbers steadily increase.

Recognizing the situation as a worsening, worldwide problem—a major problem to be faced in the decade ahead—the First Presidency has announced the establishment of a general refugee fund to be under the direction of the General Welfare Services Committee in connection with area councils in the affected regions.

Involved in administering the funds will be welfare services missionaries and proselyting missionaries, as the need arises. Providing aid to nonmembers as well as members, it will supplement, though not replace, the heartfelt compassionate gestures services of individual Latter-day Saints. (See accompanying story.)

In April, the Church took steps to register with the American Council of Volunteer Agencies and authorized the use of missionaries to aid with refugee efforts, the establishment of a Church-sponsored refugee fund, and the appointment of a coordinator for refugee efforts in relevant areas.

In a letter signed by the First Presidency and dated 14 July 1980, the new fund is explained:

“Since 1975 we have been deeply concerned about and involved in helping and sponsoring Church members and their extended families who are refugees from the conflicts in Southeast Asia.

“While the needs of our members are being met, the plight of thousands of refugees from all over the world is worsening. Vietnamese boat people, Cambodian and Laotian refugees, Afghan, Haitian, Somalik, and now Cuban refugees are among the displaced. Leaders of nations and charitable organizations have pledged their efforts to assist these refugees.

“In order to give further aid in meeting the needs of both member and nonmember refugees, we encourage members to give as they are able to the charity of their choice. Members, as well as nonmembers, may contribute to a recently established Church-sponsored refugee relief fund by sending their contributions to:

LDS Refugee Relief Fund 7th Floor

50 East North Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

“This fund is administered under the direction of the General Welfare Services Committee in concert with the area councils. All contributions to this will be used directly, with a minimum of administrative expense, to support relief activities including but not limited to health, education, and other services in refugee camps or where need is demonstrated. If local Church leaders receive such contributions, the money should not be commingled with ward and stake funds. Such funds should be sent directly to the LDS Refugee Relief Fund at the above address.”