mormon-helpAs wildfires blaze through southern California, we are mindful of , The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reported that all the missionaries in the area are safe. Missionaries are assisting in shelters and are also helping with evacuations.

At least 300,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes so far. High temperatures and winds and dry weather conditions have made fighting the fires very difficult.

A number of ward meetinghouses are being used as temporary shelters. At last report, no Church buildings have been seriously damaged by the fires. Commodities from the local bishops’ storehouses are being provided to those Church meetinghouses serving as temporary shelters. The Church has also supplied blankets and food to evacuees in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Further evaluation of the need for humanitarian assistance will continue as the situation progresses and evacuations are lifted.

This is another reminder to us all about the need to both prepare ourselves for any emergency, and to contribute to the Church’s humanitarian fund or the funds of other worthy organizations. Without our contributions and their preparations, those truckloads of blankets would not have been available to the evacuees in San Diego. The food would not have been there in the storehouses. When the need arises for these commodities, it’s too late to begin gathering them. They need to be there, in place, and ready to go when sudden disasters strike. Because, as the people of southern California are currently and painfully aware, these disasters do happen.

So get your 72-hour kits ready. (72-hour kits are intended to be portable kits with basic food, medical, and emergency supplies that you can grab and use at a moment’s notice in the event of a disaster.) And then be sure to include that extra payment to the Church humanitarian fund with your tithes and offerings. Or make a donation to the Red Cross or other worthy charitable organization. Donate your time gathering supplies or helping these charities in other ways. They need our help. Large-scale disasters will continue to happen, and these charitable organizations need to always be ready to act.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in California who have lost their homes or are waiting in shelters, as well as with those valiant firefighters who are doing all they can to quench this terrible blaze.

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