Welfare and Self Reliance

The objective of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to care for those in need while teaching principles that promote self-reliance and self-respect.


Soon after the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, its leaders established bishops' storehouses, places where grain and other commodities donated by members as free-will offerings were stored and distributed to help needy members. In April 1936, the Church formally organized a welfare program to help Church members suffering from the devastating effects of the Great Depression. Today, that welfare program has expanded to all corners of the globe and assists members and people of all faiths or no faith at all.


Funding for the welfare program is provided by donations from Church members. One Sunday a month, members of the Church go without two consecutive meals and give generously the money they would have spent on food to the Church.

Welfare Facilities

  • Welfare Square: Located near Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Welfare Square is the largest concentration of Church-owned welfare facilities. Buildings include a cannery, a milk processing plant, a bishops’ storehouse, a thrift store, an employment center and silos where wheat and other grains are stored.
  • Bishops’ storehouses: Often compared to supermarkets without tills, bishops’ storehouses provide food and household items to those in need identified by local ecclesiastical leaders. Each storehouse—there are more than 100 across the U.S. and Canada—is filled with commodities such as canned and fresh food, toothpaste, diapers and other essential hygiene items. Those in need simply present the completed order form from their bishop.
  • Bishops' Central Storehouse: Food and supplies are stored at this 570,391-square-foot warehouse in Utah.
  • The Deseret Mill and Pasta Plant: The towering Church-owned facility covers 85,650 square feet. Its white grain silos hold 16 million pounds of wheat and can process 200,000 pounds of grain in a single day. The mill and pasta plant produce white and whole wheat flour, cake mix, gravy mix, potato pearls, granola, hot cereal, rolled oats, rice and pinto beans.
  • Processing Plants: The Church operates processing plants throughout the U.S. and Canada. These facilities package and bottle food grown on Church-owned farms. They also process other commodities such as soaps and detergents. All of these goods are distributed to bishops’ storehouses, and many are available at home storage centers.

Programs and Services

LDS Charities: The humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its purpose is to relieve suffering, foster self-reliance and provide opportunities for service for people of all nationalities and religions. It accomplishes this through the following major programs:

  • Benson Food
  • Clean Water
  • Community Projects
  • Emergency Response
  • Immunizations
  • Maternal and Newborn Care
  • Refugee Response
  • Vision Care
  • Wheelchairs

LDS Family Services: LDS Family Services helps Church leaders care for those with social and emotional challenges by providing resources that are in harmony with gospel teachings. LDS Family Services provides consultation services for Church leaders, counseling, missionary support services, and resources for those involved and affected by substance and pornography use.

Deseret Industries: Deseret Industries, often referred to as DI, is an organization that helps people with barriers to employment get the skills, education and experience they need to achieve their goals and find careers. This is done through classes, training and real-life work experience in Church-owned thrift stores.

Self-Reliance Services: When a member of the Church needs assistance with education, employment or finances, a bishop can invite him or her to attend a self-reliance class or visit a self-reliance center. Self-reliance centers provide mentoring and other helpful resources to job seekers, the self-employed and prospective students. Members receive guidance that will help them learn practical steps to become self-reliant and provide for themselves as well as their families.

Immigrant Services: LDS Immigrant Services is a free public service offered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It aims to help those who have immigrated to the United States find the help and resources they need in the community. Services include welcome centers, cultural adaptation classes, workshops and free legal clinics to help the immigrant population more easily integrate into society and overcome barriers in becoming more self-reliant.

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