BOUNTIFUL — In the face of disaster, helping people plan can be more important than giving them things. That’s one of the major ideas behind the welfare operations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which is involved in everything from international disaster relief to personal food storage. Bountiful native and Welfare Square Director Rick Foster, who recently appeared on the NBC show “Rock Center”, explained how teaching people to look ahead can be more beneficial than supplies. “People think a lot of times that humanitarian relief is like going in and being Santa Claus, but that’s not what we do,” said Foster, who spoke to the Bountiful Rotary last week. “We don’t want them to feel like they have to wait for organizations to come save them. We teach them how to do it themselves.” As part of that process, the church relies on leaders affected by the crisis for a needs assessment. After the Japanese tsunami, one of the first things the church did was to authorize funds for local leaders to purchase motorcycles that would allow them to travel through areas that weren’t navigable any other way. Once leaders had the bikes and could see what was most needed, they completed their assessment and the church responded with other supplies. Often, that will mean releasing funds so that local items can be purchased to help stimulate the area’s damaged economy.
For more information check out the Sept.6 edition of Davis Clipper.