May 22, 2024

How Does the Humanitarian Center Fit with DI?

entrance of the humanitarian center

The Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center is a part of the Deseret Industries system. While the center is not a thrift store or donation center it is a part of the important mission to provide training to the associates who work there. The Humanitarian Center receives, sorts and processes surplus donations from the DI thrift stores to be sent for humanitarian purposes or to be recycled.

What is the Humanitarian Center?  

The Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center is a facility where associates sort and bale surplus clothing and shoes from DI stores so that they can be used in providing humanitarian aid. The associates also help to sort and prepare unused items to be recycled. A portion of the center is also used to prepare and distribute charitable supplies, such as hygiene kits and warm bedding.

men driving a forklift
Associate using forklift to move large bales of clothing

Job Training  

The Humanitarian Center provides its associates with the same training program that is offered in the Deseret Industries thrift stores. While the daily work associates are involved in is different, the focus on training and development is the same. Through the job training program, associates can: 

  • Develop important workplace behaviors such as dependability, professionalism, and teamwork.  

  • Learn on-the-job skills, including production, forklift operation, food service, custodial, maintenance, and electronic disassembly. 

  • Enroll in job certification programs for specific trades.

women sorting through clothes
Associates enrolled in the job training program at the Humanitarian Center sort shoes

Helping Displaced Persons 

In large part the Humanitarian Center serves individuals who have additional training needs, in particular individuals who have experienced being displaced from their home country. The associates working at the Humanitarian Center have come to the United States from over 30 countries. Most of these associates are blazing their paths in a new country with a new language, new culture, and new customs. 

One unique way the Humanitarian Center helps these individuals is by providing on-site English classes as part of their workday. Associates spend half the day in English classes and the other half working in their assigned area. The associates receive wages for both the time they spend in the classroom and the time they spend focused on work tasks. Learning English and developing on-the-job skills are both important for the associates to prepare for future employment opportunities.  

The center also works with local agencies that help displaced persons find housing and receive other support as they settle in the U.S.  

At any given time, there are 150 associates enrolled at the Humanitarian Center. Most of the associates remain in the training program for about a year as they learn English, become accustomed to the work culture of the United States, and learn additional employable skills. In the last year, associates have gone on to find employment in warehousing, maintenance, production, custodial, and food service once they completed their training.

sorted and bailed clothing ready to be distributed for humanitarian purposes
Sorted and baled clothing ready to be distributed for humanitarian purposes

Environmental Sustainability  

Deseret Industries is committed to recycling as much as possible and the Humanitarian Center is key in assuring that happens. The center receives materials from Deseret Industries stores. The items are then sorted and processed for different purposes. This includes: 

  • Distributing materials for humanitarian aid. 

  • Selling items to other recycling buyers. 

  • Recycling materials that are not usable. 

The proceeds that come from selling items are used in the training program to help pay the wages of the associates and cover the cost of training.

DI and the Humanitarian Center Work Together for a Greater Cause  

Deseret Industries Stores and the Humanitarian Center work together to care for those in need. When you donate to Deseret Industries, you support the job training programs at both DI and the Humanitarian Center.  

The Humanitarian Center offers tours on weekdays. Contact the center to schedule a time to learn more about what happens there.