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Mike Terry, Deseret News
President Henry B. Eyring, right, greets Manung Pae following the Sugar House Welfare Facility dedication services.

SALT LAKE CITY — After more than 70 years serving the Sugar House community, the second Deseret Industries to open in Utah closed its doors last Friday to welcome a new, much larger facility only blocks away from the original store. Although the location has changed, the purposes remain the same.

"Inside this facility devoted people will extend lifting and helping hands to those whose lives will be transformed for the better," President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said during the dedicatory service Wednesday night.

"Generations will be blessed because of what will happen here."

Church leaders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and community members gathered in the new store located at 721 E. 2100 South to celebrate it's opening and officially dedicate the building.

"This building is intended and designed to magnify our power to help others," said President Eyring. "To make it a reality, church members and leaders have given their time, resources and talents. Citizens, community leaders and neighbors have given unstinting support."

Not only has the physical facility expanded with the new location, so have the services offered within the multipurpose center. An LDS Employment Center, Deseret Industries store and LDS Family Services are all available at the new location.

"The acts of service, love, healing and compassion that will take place within these walls will ripple throughout eternity," President Eyring said. "It is a place for the father of five who lost a job and paces the floor in the middle of the night worrying about how he will support his family. It is a place of hope for a couple that want with all their hearts to welcome an infant into their embrace and to their family. It is a place for those in need who can surround themselves with a team who daily works with them to surmount obstacles and reach heights they never thought possible."

President Eyring said that the new center is more than a place for the less fortunate, it is also a place for people to lift others and volunteer.

"You who have been blessed could reach out your hand here to those who need help to rise up," he said. "Those with abundance are to voluntarily sacrifice some of their comfort, time, skills and resources to relieve the suffering of those in need. And the help is given in a way that increases the power in the recipients to care for themselves and their families."

Other LDS leaders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke of the hope the new building brings during the dedication service.

H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop who oversees the welfare program for the Mormon church, said that the site of the store was an "answer to prayer" and will be in a perfect position once more of the public transportation system in Salt Lake is completed.

Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, shared a story of a piano in her home that she purchased from a D.I. store.

At the time that she found it, the piano didn't sound good and needed improvements. After some work, it now has a beautiful sound, she said.

"That piano stands as a symbol of what Deseret Industries does and what LDS Family Services does, and what Employment services does," Beck said.

"We take something that used to have great value, and somehow in life experiences it gets battered and broken, and it just needs to be repaired and restored to its diamond quality it was meant to have."Whether it is someone who needs help building a resume or language skills to find employment, an individual seeking professional therapy or a parent who needs to clothe a large family on a tight budget, the new resource center provides opportunities for improvement, and builds confidence along the way.

"This is not just a thrift store," Jeff Simpson, a local stake president said. "This is a place where [people with] wounds … can come and find more strength and can begin to find the joy of work and of service. They can learn about their choices and their options. They can begin to build a support system, and get back on their feet. … They can learn the powerful effects of emotional accountability and physical responsibility and they can learn to navigate relationships and resumes and how to recover from difficult circumstances."

In 1938, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the formation of the Deseret Industries when Utah and the nation were recovering from a deep depression.

"Banks had failed. Thousands had lost employment," President Eyring said. "Deseret Industries was a part of the general welfare plan of the Church. It was to help lift people to employment so that they might then lift themselves to the capacity to care for themselves and their families."

With this year marking the church's 75 anniversary of the establishment welfare program, the new building exemplifies much of what the welfare program stands for by helping people help themselves. Today there are more than 140 storehouses, 326 resource centers, 79 LDS Family Services offices and 43 D.I. stores in operation.

Email: mholman@desnews.com