Welfare program eases suffering

  • The Church's welfare program has blessed the lives of countless people. Below are just some of those accounts, taken from "Red Shoes: And Other Stories From Welfare Square" written by Jesse M. Drury and Glen L. Rudd.

    During the Depression, many fine Latter-day Saints who were living alone or unemployed and without income, found it difficult to bake bread as they had always done. Several of the bishops requested that we have bread in the storehouse for distribution to those who were not able to produce their own baked bread.

    A wonderful thing happened about 1940 when a donation of a small bakery located on South State Street was given to the Granite Stake hoping it would be used to produce income. However, President Carl W. Buehner and his bishops felt that it should be used to produce bread for the storehouse, and therefore the bakery became a welfare project to produce a much needed item. For a period of years, the stake was also able to sell products out of their bakery to help defray expenses.

    The actual location of the bakery was moved two or three times, and later it was moved to Welfare Square and renamed "The Deseret Bakery." This happened after almost forty years of service by the members of Granite Stake.

    Desperate for Warmth

    The night watchman telephoned to report that a lady and her daughter were stealing coal. I rushed to the storehouse wondering how to meet this strange situation. I was deeply moved. When I saw the woman, she was no thief. Need had driven her to get coal for her family. We gave her the coal.

    The next morning I visited her home. Destitution met me at the door. They had no food. The only heat came from a small fire in which the coal given her the night before was used sparingly. The father was dead and others in the family were sick. My heart went out to her brave struggle for survival.

    The storehouse provided fuel and food. Since they were members of the Church, the bishop of the ward was contacted. He took over the situation and the family was provided for as long as the need was there. They became very active in the ward and were soon rehabilitated and took care of themselves.

    First Cannery — 1932

    As part of our storehouse and under the direction of the Relief Society of the stakes and wards, we canned and preserved fruits and vegetables produced and given to us.

    Sister May Colbert was assisted by Lilly May Snydergaard of the 25th ward. Sister Snydergaard supervised the first canning operation in our storehouse. The first day we canned 50 cans of peaches using a hand sealer, wash tubs, and five-gallon honey cans for boilers. Later we purchased another hand sealer and a 32-quart pressure cooker. With this small equipment, we were able to can several thousand cans of fruits and vegetables that fall.

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