Help for Refugees
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“Help for Refugees,” Ensign, Sept. 1980, 78

Help for Refugees

In action elsewhere, Latter-day Saints have responded to other refugee needs. Here is a sampling of their activities. Representatives of Brigham Young University’s Associated Students presented a check for $19,300 to Bishop J. Richard Clarke, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, for Cambodian relief earlier this year.

The Student Community Services office had raised part of the money as a special project and the senior class gift provided $10,000 after a campus poll showed overwhelming student support for the project.

According to the students, this is the first time in school history that senior class gift money has been spent off-campus. During the campaign, students were encouraged to miss lunch for one day and donate the money to the project.

Phoenix First Ward sponsored a Vietnamese refugee family of eight members. The elders quorum president, Mike Johnson, and his wife Betty, the Primary president, originated the idea. It was approved by the ward correlation council as an unofficial ward project.

When word came through the Catholic Social Services that the family would arrive, members spent a busy five days. They found a three-bedroom home; refurbished, repaired, and painted it; stocked it with furniture, linen, toys, and food; cleaned the yard; and found work for the father and his twenty-five-year-old brother.

Sister Mary Boddeker of Chandler Third Ward in Arizona became an expert on unraveling red tape to help settle some of the almost 3,000 orphaned refugee children. In addition to sponsoring a family of their own and temporarily helping two other refugee families, she and her husband have adopted a Vietnamese girl.

Hugh Boddeker had developed a great love for the Vietnamese people as a helicopter pilot in the war and came back determined to help them. The Boddekers learned a lot of organizational shortcuts from stakes in the state of Washington that have organized a relief effort to sponsor more than 500 refugees.