News Story

Latter-day Saint Charities Makes Significant Donation to Kangaroo Island Residents

Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made a significant donation to families and the community of Kangaroo Island, Australia on Saturday 14 March.

The donation will help many who were seriously impacted by a major bushfire that recently burnt almost half the land mass of the island off the coast of South Australia.


The Kangaroo Island “Ravine” fire tore through more than 200,000 hectares with a perimeter of over 600kms. First reported on 30 December 2019, the fire burnt for several weeks before it was brought under control. Two property owners were killed fighting the massive fire.


It destroyed 65 homes on farm properties and other buildings. The world-renowned Flinders Chase National Park and its visitor centre, and many other tourism facilities were also affected.

On Saturday 14 March 2020, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Ian S. Ardern, Sister Paula Ardern, Area Seventy Elder Paul N. Lekias, Sister Rebecca Lekias, Steven Petersen, Director for Temporal Affairs for the Pacific Area, and Sister LuAnn Petersen, travelled to Kangaroo Island to meet with Mayor Michael Pengilly and several families impacted by the fire. The visitors were accompanied by President Jason Ellis of the Adelaide Australia Marion Stake.

Kangaroo Island Latter-day Saint Branch President, Shaun Hinves, and his wife Anthea, met the group and showed them around the island during the day. President Hinves, a professional bee-keeper, is one of many locals whose livelihood has been severely impacted by the fire.

Elder Ardern presented 100 gift wallets to families who are recovering from the natural disaster. Within each wallet were three vouchers, each valued at $100, to be spent at the island’s hardware store, petrol station and supermarket. The wallets also contained several self-help ideas, and messages of love and support from missionaries from the Adelaide Australia Mission.

Elder Ardern also presented four fully equipped trailers to Blaze Aid, a not-for-profit organisation whose volunteers repair rural fencing destroyed by natural disasters, to assist in their efforts.

The Church had previously donated 10 semi-trailer loads of hay and water to farming families on the island.

Mayor Pengilly was very appreciative of the donations, saying the items will have a major positive impact within his constituency.

The Church leadership group visited two properties whose farms were significantly impacted by the fire. Mrs Paula Buck and her family lost two homes, several buildings, farm machinery and livestock to the fire.

Paul Stanton’s family are well known farmers on the island, but also known for the work they do caring for injured wildlife. Even though their substantial stone home was destroyed, Paul and his family have maintained their care of local wildlife, some of which were injured in the fire.

The visiting group saw the damage to the Stanton property firsthand, and also witnessed some of the great work they are still doing to care for injured animals.

Elder Ardern was moved by the resilience of the families and their ability to rebound after the devastating effects of the fire. He said he was grateful that he and others were able to visit the island and that the Church could bring some relief through the generosity of Church members worldwide.

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