(by Joseph Walker deseretnews.com 5-9-13)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recognized Thursday for donating more than 1 million pounds of food to Feeding America, one of the country’s leading nonprofit hunger-relief organizations.
Angela De Paul, Feeding America spokeswoman, said the LDS Church is being recognized as a "Supporting Partner" in the organization, which has the stated objective of ending hunger nationally.
"With food donations totaling more than 1 million pounds during Feeding America's current fiscal year, the (LDS) Church is the only faith-based donor to have achieved Supporting Partner status with the organization," De Paul said in a press release issued Thursday.
The church's recent donations include fruit, vegetables and proteins that will be distributed for use at food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters for those in need. Included in the donations are 250,000 pounds of food to the Utah Food Bank, which is a member of the Feeding America network.
"The church has demonstrated a long-standing commitment and profound capacity to feed the hungry," the press release stated. "While it has a history of supporting many individual Feeding America food banks, within the last few years the church has increased national donations, significantly affecting hunger relief in communities across the country."
Bob Aiken, Feeding America's president and CEO, said "the commitment from our Supporting Partners helps make Feeding America's work possible and provides hungry Americans with food, hope and dignity every day."
"Thanks to the generosity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this most recent donation will provide the equivalent of 625,000 much-needed meals," Aiken said.
Such humanitarian donations by the LDS Church are made possible "by millions of Mormons who desire to follow Jesus Christ's example to care for the poor and needy and give of their time and money to help feed the hungry throughout the world," LDS officials said through a statement published on the church's Newsroom website.
The donations are coordinated through the church's massive welfare system, which includes a network of farms, ranches, canneries and storehouses to provide food for those in need, both inside and outside the church.