February 13, 2013

My Tour of Salt Lake City LDS Welfare Square

Grain silos at Welfare Square
One of my fondest dreams has been to take a tour of Welfare Square; headquarters of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Well, I got my wish today. My teen daughter thinks I'm a bit weird to have a dream like that. :-) But, you know me.

You would think I would have been there already, since I only live 25 minutes away from this amazing place. But this busy mom needed to make it a priority to travel down I-15 to spend an afternoon there.

Quilt in one of the hallways. The beehive is the symbol of industry.
The square is laid out on 13.5 acres about a mile west of Salt Lake City. "The square also includes a bakery, a dairy plant, a Deseret Industries thrift store, a bishops’ storehouse and store serving families that receive Church assistance, an employment center, and tall silos for storing wheat." LDS.org

I arrived at 1 p.m. and entered the visitors center on the north-end of the Bishop’s Storehouse where two amazing LDS sister missionaries greeted me; Sister Samoa and Sister California. At this time of day, I had a private tour all to myself.

They shared a beautiful film about the purpose of the welfare program. The film explained how the Church helps those in need with food, clothing, and help finding employment. Fast offering funds from church members helps provide for the food in the storehouse, or it is produced on church-owned agricultural property. The service rendered is patterned after the teachings of Jesus Christ who spent his life reaching out to those in need.

After the film, we walked through the Bishop’s Storehouse where church members who have talked with their bishop can come for food. There is also a transient service center that gives food to homeless people from all faiths. We entered a huge warehouse where pallets of food were stocked on shelves similar to those in Costco. They also showed me an emergency food kit used to feed people after a disaster. Each kit is modified for the diet of those in the country or area of the disaster.

Sample disaster emergency kit.
Then we walked to the bakery where 4,000 loaves of wheat and white bread are made daily to help feed those in need. It smelled yummy! Most of those working were volunteers.

The bakery
We walked through a cannery where honey, applesauce and jam are canned. Then passed the home storage center where you may can and purchase your own grains and other foods. I told the senior service missionaries that I would be back at the end of my tour to see them. Most of these volunteers live locally and work 8 hour shifts.

Next I saw the dairy area where cheddar cheese is cut into 1 lb. blocks.

Cheddar cheese being cut. Volunteers are in the blue caps.
At the milk bottling plant, I recognized the yummy chocolate milk which is sold at the BYU creamery. The Church owns various dairies to make the dairy products.


I was able to sample some chocolate milk, cheese, wheat bread and butter. Fresh is definitely wonderful!

We past the Deseret Industries thrift store where those on church assistance are given clothing and furnishings. The sisters said only 15% of donations are sold in the thrift stores, and 85% of donations are sent to places in need and around the world. Amazing! And only the items in the best condition are sent. I keep a box in my garage all the time for items we donate to the D.I.

We walked into the LDS Employment Services where members and non-members come for help to find a job. Many people of those looking for jobs were working on computers. They can also take classes to learn how to create a resume and how to interview for a job.

After my tour, I returned to the home storage center to can some oats; one of our food storage breakfast goals this month. I only needed 12 cans, but we canned extra for someone else in need. It was quick and I loved the help I received. I was done in 20 minutes! Afternoons are a great time to go.

Oats in my cans
I also bought some canned corn, chili, peach jam and canned peaches. If you are not a member of my church and want to can food at any of the home storage centers, contact a Mormon in your neighborhood or the service missionaries there.

A few of the great senior service missionaries who helped me today.
I am so grateful for such an amazing LDS welfare program that was organized to help those in need and help us all to become self-reliant. For me, the greatest blessing of this program is the opportunity to help others. It is "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." May we each find opportunities to serve. What a blessing to be part of this great church!

If you are ever in the Salt Lake City area, call (801) 240-4872 to schedule a weekday tour of Welfare Square. They are open all year long (except holidays). Tours start at the top of each hour and are free. The address is 780 West 800 South Salt Lake City, UT 84104.

Helpful Articles:
Welfare and Self-Reliance from Mormon Newsroom
Welfare Square Service by Bottle and Loaf, Ensign Magazine, October 2001
Missionary Moments: Real Welfare work from LDS Church News

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I've never been on a tour -- in fact, I didn't realize they did tours there. I think it would be fun and interesting.
    Do you know if you can take children/teens on the tour? I assume there would be some restrictions since you are going through food preparation areas.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure you can take children. Call them and ask. I want to take my 8 year-old daughter next time.

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  2. I am from Lousiana, and have been there twice. My favorite part (besides the tasting!) is seeing the end of that film, the voluteers are working, the music reaches a crescendo, and you are so grateful for the voluteers, and see the Savior's hand in the church and are goal to aid those in need. I have picked up items to be added to my storage too, along with sites in Dallas area, and Slidell,LA. We had the opportunity of picking up our son in Nicaragua, at the end of his mission.I know you are excited to see your son, and congrats on your daughter's decision.

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  3. yes, you can take kids, my daughter and I brought her girls, 3-7 the first time I went. They try to involve athe children as they provide the tours. They loved it

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