Utah Churches Send Help for Ebola Epidemic

Oct 29, 2014

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided an update Wednesday on how its members and missionaries are dealing with the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. It’s just one of many local religious groups making significant contributions to the effort.

The statement on the church’s news website says it’s working with International Medical Corps to provide medical clothing and supplies for a hospital in Sierra Leone.  It’s also working with other relief organizations in both Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The LDS news bureau in Ghana has published stories about Mormons in Sierra Leone who had to conduct worship services in their homes while their neighborhood was locked down by authorities.  In some cases, the church has provided its members with a two-month supply of food for times when they were not allowed to move freely.

Mormon missionaries in Sierra Leone and Liberia were reassigned to other countries last August. Those still in West Africa are being trained on precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola, and the church says it will take further steps to protect its missionaries if that becomes necessary.

The Episcopal Diocese of Utah is also contributing to fight the epidemic.  Libby Hunter is a trustee for what’s called Trust 2, money the diocese received from the sale of St. Mark’s Hospital.

“We approved ten thousand dollars last week from Trust 2 funds," Hunter told KUER.  "Five thousand dollars will go to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and five thousand dollars will go to Episcopal Relief and Development.”

Catholic Relief Services has committed 1.5 million dollars to combat the epidemic. The Seventh Day Adventist Church has number of hospitals in the affected countries.  An affiliated relief agency is sending more 92-thousand dollars’ worth of protective clothing and supplies for health workers.