New Saratoga Springs Deseret Industries, Welfare and Self-Reliance Services facility dedicated
The new facility will serve members in 42 local stakes, but it is ‘all about the one,’ said Bishop W. Christopher Waddell
SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — After nearly three years of construction and preparation, the 46th Deseret Industries location is now open in, Saratoga Springs, Utah, a rapidly growing community west of Utah Lake.
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, dedicated the 54,000-square foot facility — which includes DI, Family Services, Development Counseling Services and Employment Services — on Wednesday evening, Sept. 14. An adjacent building with a bishops’ storehouse and home storage center was also dedicated during the ceremony, and the facility opened to the public on Thursday morning.
“This new facility — the Saratoga Springs Deseret Industries complex — is all about caring for the one,” Bishop Waddell said in his remarks during the dedication program.
The complex was built on land which for many years was part of the Church’s ongoing farming efforts in the region. It was one of several plots used to supply the bishops’ storehouse, providing food for families in need. Now people in need will be referred to the new storehouse, to counseling or to other services based on their needs.
“All will be received with open arms, without judgment and with Christlike love,” Bishop Waddell said.
The Welfare and Self-Reliance vision speaks of embracing the two great commandments to love God and one’s neighbor by ministering to temporal needs, building spiritual and temporal self-reliance, and blessing both givers and receivers.
Sister Kristin M. Yee, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, said: “Before we can truly love God and our neighbor, we must first feel God’s love for us as His children. When we feel God’s love for us, we desire to love Him in return.”
Sister Yee said God’s love permeates the work and people who come to the Welfare and Self-Reliance Centers — the missionaries, employees, job coaches and counselors who “carry the desire in their hearts to love as the Savior would.”
More than a store
Around the temporary podium and folding chairs set up for the dedication Wednesday night, racks of clothing and shelves of shoes and other goods were ready to be moved back into the center for Thursday morning’s grand opening. But DI is more than a thrift store and donation center — its main purpose is to serve as a job-training facility.
DI associates work under the direction of a job coach, who provides training and helps them prepare for future work opportunities. DI associates can also access resources like tuition benefits, employment services, certificate programs and development counseling.
Jill Norris from Eagle Mountain, Utah, is the lead associate in the women’s department at the new Saratoga Springs DI. She was nervous and excited for the store to open.
“There were times when I wasn’t sure we would be ready by September, but it’s the Lord’s work so of course it’s going to work out,” she said.
Highlands 2nd Ward Bishop Moises Ortiz, in the Eagle Mountain Utah North Stake, said he was happy to have the new complex built closer to his city so that members of his congregation could use the resources they need.
“Many members use these services, and it is a bit of a drive to go to American Fork or to Lindon for the Bishops’ Storehouse, so having a bishops’ storehouse here will be a blessing, especially when people are struggling with gas prices so high,” he said.
All about the one
The facility will serve members in 42 local stakes in western Utah County, with 160,000 shoppers expected annually at the store, 40,000 order recipients at the bishops’ storehouse and 2,165 counseling hours at Family Services. Those numbers may be large, but they represent individuals.
Bishop Waddell spoke of how the Atonement of Jesus Christ was infinite, but infinitely individual. And the temporal work of Welfare and Self-Reliance is also “all about the one.”
“This facility is large and it has lots of workers, but every individual who comes and needs help, whether for a food order or job assistance, everyone will receive individual assistance,” Bishop Waddell said.
Sister Yee shared examples of associates, missionaries and employees blessed by Deseret Industries.
“One of the fruits of the work of Welfare and Self-Reliance is hope,” she said, quoting 1 Peter 3:15, which speaks of being ready to give “a reason for the hope that is in you.”
“The missionaries and employees [who] work at the Saratoga Springs facility have been prepared to provide a reason for the hope that is in them,” Sister Yee said. “That hope is in Jesus Christ.”
The Saratoga Springs facility by the numbers
- Local stakes served: 42
- Square footage (building): 54,000
- Square footage (DI retail area): 24,000
- Full-time employees: 15
- Enrolled associates: 135
- Associates assisted: 200
- Donors expected annually: 90,000
- Shoppers expected annually: 160,000
- Full-time counselors: 2
- On-call counselors: 2
- Leader consultation hours expected annually: 791
- Counseling hours expected annually: 2,165
Development Counseling Services
- Full-time counselors: 2
- Church service missionaries: 2
- Volunteer hours expected annually: 500
- Annual expected DI associates assisted: 135
- Annual expected people assisted outside DI: 20
- Church service missionaries: 12
- Job seekers assisted expected annually: 600
- Volunteer hours expected annually: 5,760
- Church service missionaries: 36
- Volunteer hours expected annually: 18,000
- Order recipients expected annually: 40,000
Home Storage Center
- Church service missionaries: 10
- Volunteer hours expected annually: 5,000
- Shoppers expected annually: 5,000