News Release

Rice for Refugees Provides Hope for Communities

Blacktown members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons, have come together to donate rice to new residents fleeing war and terror. The ‘Rice for Refugees’ program had a massive response as church members donated more than 700 kilograms of the grain.

“We chose rice as it is a staple in many refugee communities and this appeal focused on the teachings of Christ in loving our neighbours and giving generously to those in need,” Durga Owen explained.

                                           President David Harper and Durga Owen         

Ms Owen knows firsthand the struggles of starting anew, having come to Australia as a refugee when she was a child. She is now a solicitor and is raising a family with her husband locally.

The donations were received by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Jesuit Refugee Service, and the House of Welcome, who offer support to families in the area.

                                               Bruce West and Levi Demke              

“These generous practical donations serve to demonstrate to the asylum seekers that come to our centre that there are people in the local community who care about their well-being,” Asylum Seeker Resource Centre chief executive Frances Rush said.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is an organisation offering a pastoral service to refugees and the communities who host them through programs of pastoral care, education for children and adults.

Joanne Millington from House of Welcome, which is idependent of Government and relies entirely on the support of Churches and the Community, said the organisation has so many families coming every week that their food bank is always running low. 

“This donation makes a big impact for so many people in need,” she said.

In May 2016 The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited members of the church world-wide to support the 'I Was A Stranger' relief effort by providing donations and service in support of refugees in their local communities. The world-wide effort can be seen at

                                                  Elder Conner White          

Whether it's sprucing up a cemetery, a beach or other public space -- or lending a hand gathering rice for refugees-- members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can often be seen pitching in alongside neighbours from other faiths and groups.

Their efforts were part of a wider initiative involving Latter-day Saints and others in villages, towns and cities across the South Pacific and Australia. Volunteers participated in scores of service projects the last Saturday in October, beautifying the environment and strengthening communities.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.