Church History
Service after Tragedy
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Service after Tragedy

Church members sorting goods donated to the victims of the Pedrógão Grande fire, 2017

In June 2017, a heat wave spread across Portugal. Dry conditions led to the outbreak of many fires, including one that swept through Pedrógão Grande, Portugal, destroying many homes and killing more than 60 people. “This is a region that has had fires [before],” said Valdemar Alves, the mayor of Pedrógão Grande, “but we cannot remember a tragedy of these proportions.”

As soon as Portuguese Church members heard about the tragic effects of the fire, they began organizing first aid kits and gathering donated goods under the direction of the Relief Society. Dozens of wards participated, and arrangements were made to deliver the donations to the victims. Latter-day Saint volunteers in yellow Helping Hands vests coordinated their efforts to provide necessities, clothing, and food. Other needs such as medicines and wheelchairs were purchased directly from LDS Charities. Elder Joaquim J. Moreira, an Area Seventy from Seixal, was on hand to deliver the goods. A few days later, Dr. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, president of Portugal, met with Latter-day Saint volunteers and thanked them for their dedication in the wake of the tragedy.