At a recent academic conference I heard a talk by Robert A. Rees, vice-president of the Liahona Children’s Foundation. Rees began his talk by taking issue with two Mormon “myths.” To paraphrase, “The first is that Mormons take care of their own. Sometimes they don’t. The second is that charity never faileth. Sorry, Relief Society ladies; sometimes it does.” Rees then went on to describe a startling problem of child malnutrition around the world, including the following statistics.
- “We estimate that 120,000 LDS children are malnourished. Our recent data from Cambodia shows that 76% of children screened are malnourished and that 50% of those screened in Guatemala are malnourished.
- “Malnourished children often suffer significant decreases in brain growth that are permanent and affect their long-term ability to learn and to obtain meaningful work.
- “Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that nutritional supplementation of children affected by malnutrition improves cognitive outcomes (IQ), increases adult earning potential by 10%, decreases the incidence of intestinal and respiratory infections of childhood, and allows the child to have the energy to grow normally.
- “Supplementation prevents death in 5–10% of children affected by severe malnutrition.”
The Liahona Children’s Foundation currently has more than 30 operations and serves about 4500 LDS children in Cambodia, Ecuador, and Peru. This is a not-insignificant number, but that still leaves many malnourished LDS children who are not receiving help. Please consider donating to help these children.