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Deseret Industries provides fresh start for items, people

As summer heats up, summertime items such as T-shirts, tank tops, swimsuits and sandals are in high demand, and Deseret Industries is ready to take these items off people’s hands and give them a second start.

Deseret Industries, a nonprofit business owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, collects donated items and provides job training for many individuals. The items are usually sold or used for humanitarian work.

Donating is simple, and DI will accept many items.

“You don’t even have to get out of your car,” said marketing manager Brooke Yates, explaining that when donors drive up to the dock, employees will unload the car and offer a donation receipt.

According to deseretindustries.org, all donations are tax-deductible, and items from seasonal decorations and knickknacks to clothing and sports equipment are accepted.

Donations usually go to one of two places: the sales floor at DI thrift stores or humanitarian centers, according to DI's website. Yates said that while thousands of items go out on the floor every day and the humanitarian center is full of items to be shipped to areas that need help, donations are always needed to keep up those numbers.

DI stores do more than sell donated items, however; they also offer people many kinds of training.

“We’re a training facility, and our goal is to try to help people become more self-reliant,” Yates said. “We try to help anyone overcome any problem that they’re having in regards to employment.”

Training comes in the form of on-the-job experience as well as specific help ranging from emotional counseling to GED educational training.

Yates said almost all the proceeds from the sale of donated items go back into the program to help associates receive an education.

“You can be supporting a great cause by donating to Deseret Industries,” Yates said.

In addition to donated items, DI also accepts donated time — shopping time included.

“That gives our employees practice with customer service,” Yates said.

For those looking to volunteer, DI stores accept assistance anytime during store hours. Volunteer jobs range from working on the donation dock to helping with clothing. Working with volunteers also gives the associates an opportunity to train someone in what they do, Yates explained.

Yates said all DI locations are in need of employees. Applicants need a referral from an LDS bishop but do not need to be LDS to be hired.

“A lot of our associates are not LDS,” Yates said. “We help people of all faiths.”

More information about Deseret Industries, including store locations and employment opportunities, is available at deseretindustries.org.

Email: mmcinnes@deseretnews.com