Press Kit 
The Welfare Program

The Church welfare program is based on the concept of self-reliance. Individuals and families are taught not to depend on others for support. The program is all embracing. It encourages members to develop self-reliance in:

  • Literacy and education
  • Career development
  • Financial management
  • Home production and storage
  • Physical health
  • Social-emotional and spiritual strength

Despite these preventative efforts, members sometimes fall on hard times. When that happens, the Church teaches that the responsibility for dealing with adversity lies first with the individual, then the family or extended family. Only when these resources have been used does the Church step in to provide further help. Welfare assistance from the Church is always regarded as temporary — to help people once again stand on their own feet.

Members in need consult with their local bishop. The family's circumstances and needs are assessed, and the bishop helps plot a course for the family to recover.

In some parts of the world where there are large numbers of members, the Church operates bishops' storehouses, which are similar to supermarkets but without cash registers. There, the needy can go with a signed bishop's order to shop. In other locations, the bishop provides alternative means of stocking the family's food cupboard. In no case does the bishop simply hand over money. Generally, those receiving help are given a work assignment tailored to their abilities.

The welfare program is financed through voluntary contributions by members of the Church who fast one day each month and donate the value of the meals missed for the care of the poor and needy. The average length of assistance is about four months, and is provided primarily to low income families and the elderly.

The welfare program of the Church has been in operation since 1936. Its underlying principles have remained unchanged.

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