At Thanksgiving approaches in the US, I am grateful for many things, including the many luxuries we enjoy here in the US. I am also grateful that I have access to food and clean water. It also reminds me that many do not have the luxury of clean water and food – even some of my fellow Mormons.

I had an argument about this with a fellow member. He said that fast offering funds would be provided to members throughout the world and no member of the Church would ever go hungry or starve. While this would be nice, I don’t believe it is reality. I have spoken to many missionaries who served in third world countries and they all mentioned that the poverty of some members was extreme and that, yes, it is possible that members of the Church do go hungry and possibly starve (there was a series of nice articles in Dialogue by Bradley Walker on the subject a few years back on this topic). Why aren’t fast offerings used in these areas? Two major reasons have been given that I am aware of: first, the Church does not want people to flock to the Church and join just for food (of course, that DOES happen in the US), and second, the fast offerings that are collected tend to stay within an area – for example, US collected fast offerings do not go to South America, despite the greater need there. So what can members in wealthy countries do? I think donating to the Humanitarian and Perpetual Education Funds is important as well as to other charities that serve these areas. Any other ideas?