The Liahona Children’s Nutrition and Education Foundation (LCF) was started in 2008 by Brad Walker, a physician and public health specialist; Polly Sheffield, a pediatrician and public health specialist; Bob Rees, a Humanities professor from California; and Sara Walker, an international public health specialist. Deeply concerned about the problem of malnutrition among children living in resource poor countries and the effects this problem has on children’s growth and development, they established the Foundation in order to address this problem. Linked by their common faith as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) they developed a method to meet the needs of the children based on the best scientific and medical information for addressing malnutgrition. Although the Foundation focuses on the needs of Latter-day Saint children, it does invite other children to participate. None are turned away
In 2008 and 2009, groups of students from universities in Utah visited four Stakes in Ecuador and five Stakes in Guatemala to screen LDS children and their friends for malnutrition. A Stake is an area composed of multiple congregations or wards of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Hundreds of children were waiting at local LDS meetinghouses to be screened when the students arrived. In two weeks, the groups screened over 2,200 children for malnutrition in cooperation with the LDS Stake presidencies. Around 30% of the children screened in the four Ecuador stakes and 50% of children screened in the five Guatemala stakes were determined to be malnourished according to guidelines set by The World Health Organization.
Since its inception, the Liahona Children’s Foundation has expanded to 17 countries and 185 different Stake projects. We are involved with children in Africa, Latin America, Brazil, the South Pacific, the Philippines, and Asia. We will continue to expand as our funding permits to meet the nutritional and educational needs of children throughout the world.