“Director of U.N. World Food Program Lauds Church’s Humanitarian Efforts,” Ensign, Oct. 2004, 73
Members of the world’s largest food aid organization recognized and thanked the Church for its commitment to helping “people who are poor and hungry and at risk and vulnerable.”
James Morris, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, toured the Church’s Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square in Salt Lake City on 16 July 2004. He came to Salt Lake City to thank Church leaders for a $1 million donation to the World Food Program in 2002. “It was a very important gift at a time when we needed it,” he said. The donation was used for famine relief in Africa.
“If everyone was doing as much as the … Church is doing, the problem [of hunger] would be solved quickly,” he said.
Wanting to see more of the Church’s humanitarian aid operation, Mr. Morris and two others from the World Food Program toured Welfare Square’s 178-foot-tall grain elevator, storehouse, bakery, cannery, thrift store, and employment center.
The thing Mr. Morris says he will remember most about his time in Salt Lake City is the many people “living out, day after day, their faith and commitment. It is one thing to talk about your beliefs and spiritual commitments,” he said, “[but] this is a place that realizes, actualizes it, and lives it day in and day out. You see volunteers of all ages here doing good things to help people all over the world who desperately need it.”
Helping those who desperately need it is the objective of the World Food Program. Formed in 1963, it is the largest agency of the United Nations. “Our objective is to feed the most vulnerable, the hungriest, and the poorest,” said Jordan Dey, a WFP spokesman. Last year the program provided 104 million people in 81 countries with food.
Garry Flake, director of Church Emergency Response, said that the Church has great appreciation for the World Food Program and its global efforts. “For them to identify the Church as a partner in this effort is a great compliment,” he said. Brother Flake, along with Elder Harold C. Brown, an Area Authority Seventy and managing director of Welfare Services, hosted Mr. Morris.
Mr. Morris also praised the Church’s fast offering program as an “extraordinary, generous way of fighting world hunger every single month.”
Church News contributed to this report.