This lesson plan was developed by Dave Dixon, co-founder of the blog/podcast No Poor Among Them, which was recently highlighted on Rational Faiths.

Seriously, have you ever taken part in a family home evening that looks like this?

Opening Hymn Suggestions: 219 “Because I Have Been Given Much”, 223 “Have I Done Any Good”, 29 “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”

Opening Prayer: (Might I suggest the rowdiest family member?)

Scripture Suggestions: Matthew 25: 31-40; Doctrine and Covenants 104: 13-18; Jacob 2: 17-19; Mosiah 4: 16-22; Doctrine and Covenants 49: 20.

Lesson/Discussion: Whoever is in charge of presenting the lesson, I would recommend expounding on whatever scripture is given and lead it into a discussion of some of the major problems facing the world’s poor. To give family members an idea of the circumstances many find themselves in, you could briefly review some statistics found here.

After bringing these matters to the attention of family members, ask what you can collectively do to alleviate poverty and suffering in someone’s life, and why that is important as a disciple of Christ.

Family members may feel drawn to a specific cause, such as malnutrition in kids, disease, illiteracy, lack of clean water, no shelter, no family, etc. Encourage a discussion of where you feel you can do the most good. Family members may also be drawn to a certain geographical region based on location of a mission, or some other connection to an area that someone has.

Once you have determined where you would like to help and in what way, it is time to find an organization that shares your family’s cause. If you aren’t aware of a specific charity that does the work you are seeking, a good place to look is Just Give. If you are concerned about the reputation of the charity, a website like Charity Navigator can help you to know that you are giving to a great organization that operates efficiently. Note that not all charities are listed on these websites and further searching may be necessary. It is also important to realize that a higher percentage of a donation being used for administrative purposes does not necessarily make for a less efficient charity. Just as a successful business requires capital and investing to succeed, a charity can often reach greater heights with a reasonable investment in personnel, marketing, and other areas. Charity Navigator takes a nuanced approach when rating charities.

If you would like to donate to an organization with some sort of LDS tie, whether through a member of the Church running the organization, or the cause of the organization benefiting LDS people, No Poor Among Them is a great place to look, and the list of organizations we highlight is ever-growing. If you are struggling to come up with some good ideas, check out this post, which highlights a lot of great organizations that assist people in need all over the world.

Activity (Optional): A great way to gain at least a little insight as to how much of the world lives is to live below the poverty line. This basically means living on less than $1.50 per person per day. While this amount is for all facets of life for those in poverty, you are just asked to subsist on the food you can purchase with this amount. You can blog about your experience, and even try to get sponsors for your family to raise funds for a good cause.

Closing Hymn Suggestions: 219 “Because I Have Been Given Much”, 223 “Have I Done Any Good”, 29 “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”

Closing Prayer: (For this prayer, why not choose the child who has had ear buds in his ears throughout the lesson?)

FHE Treat (Optional): Make a dessert from the culture of the people you have chosen to assist.



Dave Dixon is the co-founder of No Poor Among Them, an LDS-humanitarian-themed blog and podcast geared toward raising awareness of poverty and suffering in the world, and inspiring action among the Saints to build Zion. He currently works as a GIS consultant in Northern Nevada. He and his wife, Jana, have two wonderful boys.

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