Giving Others Daily Bread

Contributed By Heather Wrigley, Church News and Events

  • 27 April 2011

At Deseret Bakery on Welfare Square in Salt Lake City, volunteers produce thousands of loaves daily—nourishing others physically and themselves spiritually.

Article Highlights

  • Deseret Bakery on Welfare Square produces 4,000 loaves of bread each week.
  • Nearly 500,000 loaves each year are distributed to those in need.
  • The first welfare bakery was created in 1940.

“It becomes not about you, not about me, not about anything except being the hands of the Lord and loving other people.” —Shawn Morgan, bakery volunteer and mother of seven

The mouth-watering smell of freshly baked bread wafts through the air outside of the Deseret Bakery in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

But at this bakery, there are no customers looking to purchase a warm loaf of fresh bread or a bag of soft rolls. Instead, the Deseret Bakery is filled with volunteers who donate their time to mix, bake, slice, and bag about 4,000 loaves of bread each week for distribution to those in need.

The Deseret Bakery has blessed the lives of countless people since it began operations more than seven decades ago.

As Spencer Fielding Jensen, a volunteer at the bakery, said, “You just cannot do too much with good people doing good things.”

In the 1930s, the Great Depression made it difficult for many Latter-day Saints to procure bread. Several bishops requested that the Bishop’s Storehouse provide bread for distribution to those who needed it.

In 1940 a small bakery was donated to a local stake and became a Church welfare project to produce the much-needed item.

The location of the Deseret Bakery has moved two or three times, and the bakery now resides in Welfare Square, but the friendly chatter of people donating their time and talents to serve others has remained the same. 

“It fills your soul to know that you can give,” said Shawn Morgan, a mother of seven who volunteers at the bakery. “It becomes not about you, not about me, not about anything except being the hands of the Lord and loving other people.”

From mixing ingredients through bagging finished loaves, the quality of the bread is carefully monitored to make sure that it is the very best the Church has to give.

After Sister Morgan and the other volunteers go home, trucks will deliver bread to bishop’s storehouses throughout the western United States, where those in need can go to obtain bread and other necessary items.

Over the course of the year, the bakery will produce nearly half a million loaves of white and wheat bread.

And in the near future, volunteers will return to the bakery for the opportunity to serve others, the rewards of which last much longer than the taste of fresh bread.

Tours of Welfare Square, including the Deseret Bakery, are available weekdays. Call (801) 240-4872 for more information.