You may already know that the Church often sends clothing and other supplies to disaster victims and those in need. But have you ever wondered where those shipments come from and how they’re put together?
The answers are found at the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City.
The shipments are made possible through donations of several kinds.
• Deseret Industries is a thrift store and rehabilitation center with 49 stores in the western United States. When Deseret Industries receives more clothing than needed for its sales floors, it ships the surplus to the humanitarian center, where it is sorted and baled for shipment.
• Companies and institutions also make donations—medical equipment and supplies, computer equipment, elementary school texts (from school districts and publishers), and used materials that would otherwise be scrapped. For example, fabric seat covers donated by a major airline are made into bags that are filled with basic school supplies for students who could not afford them—pencils, paper, and a writing slate. These school kits are shipped to schools around the world.
• Many donations come from individuals. Most are handmade items—baby clothes for newborn kits, leper bandages, toys, quilts, hospital gowns for children. Some donate wheelchairs, crutches, or walkers that are no longer needed. Medical supplies and computer parts have been donated in large quantities; often members who know of their availability have put donors in contact with the Church.
• Humanitarian aid funds donated by members are used to buy some basic medical and hygiene supplies that don’t come in as donations.
Prepackaged shipments of basic medical and hygiene supplies and equipment are stored on pallets at the Humanitarian Center, ready to be loaded onto a truck and sent out at a moment’s notice, just like the bales of clothing or boxes of books.
There is one other impressive aspect of the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center: while it is serving people in distant parts of the world, it also provides employment and job training for 130–40 workers at any given time, many of them refugees from other countries.