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The LDS Church has made a first-ever financial contribution to a Utah Pride Center program that serves food to Salt Lake City's homeless and low-income youths.
The contribution of an undisclosed amount grew out of a first-time request for assistance with donations of perishable items for the food pantry program from the Utah-based faith's Welfare Square operations, Kent Frogley, the Pride Center's board chairman said.
Through conversation, that grew into a financial donation. The 1-year-old food pantry serves about 40 homeless youths each week, according to Pride Center data.
Frogley, who has been involved with the Pride Center for many years, said he believed it was the first time The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had ever been asked to contribute to any center program. He also said he's not surprised by the response.
"The Mormon church has always stepped in where people need help in terms of food and shelter," he said. "They take to heart the mission of helping people who are in need."
A church spokesman declined to comment on the donation. However, in a grant letter to the Pride Center, LDS officials said the faith is "grateful to be able to serve your efforts in this worthy project and appreciate the work that you and others are doing related to this initiative."
Frogley said he appreciates the willingness of church leaders to set aside any political or theological differences it may have with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to support an effort to improve the community.
The church, he noted, doesn't support the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states a ruling celebrated by Utah's LGBT community.
"It's a kind of heated moment rhetoric-wise in terms of the conversation," said Frogley, a self-described emeritus Mormon. "That said, that doesn't stop us from partnering together in ways that are important."
In a statement, Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, who has spent many years working toward cooperation between LDS leaders and the LGBT community, hailed the church for its generosity.
"This feels right," said Dabakis, who is Utah's only openly gay legislator. "Although the LDS Church and the LGBTQ community do not agree on everything, this is yet another link in a continuing relationship of respect and civility."