Bishop Storehouse: A Place where members go in their times of need

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A Bishops store house is a place where the members of the LDS Church go in their times of need to receive some help in the form of goods, food and support. In the past, the tradition stated that every Thursday, church members should fast and donate the food they saved to the store house.

However, in time this practice was changed – mainly due to the hardship endured by people fasting on a work day. So the Church moved the fasting to the first Sunday in each month. After some more time, the Church decided it would be best that people donate the money they save on the meals and donate them instead. This is known as a fast offering.

The funds are used by the bishop to either buy goods or even property for the bishops store house. The land bought is used to grow food which is then sent to canneries or to the store house. Once there, it will wait and be distributed to people in need of help. In case of disasters or other special circumstances, even non-LDS people may receive help, if deemed necessary by the bishop. The bishops store house contains food, common household items, clothing and even a considerable volunteer workforce. If a disaster occurs, there are many LDS members willing to help out in rebuilding or providing basic medical attention to those in need.

A bishops store house is funded solely by the church and the donations received from the members. Volunteers work at the store house and take care of inventory, supply and distribution of goods when needed. Lately, the trend is to incorporate other services within the store house as well, services as: Employment Resource Center, Church Welfare Services, Family Services Office, Distribution Center Services and Deseret Industries. The latter is a church-owned transportation service which is used to quickly deploy goods to the people which need them and cannot reach the bishops store house.

In case of emergencies, the system is so well maintained and planned that most of the times, the LDS Church is the first to respond in case of a disaster. This was the case of Hurricane Katrina in which the Church decided to give out a helping hand and their trucks filled with goods, food, water and clothing were among the first to arrive at the site and provide aid to those in need. Furthermore, these services are not aimed only at LDS members – like with Katrina, most of the people who received help were not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The store house is still primarily a backup solution for people who reach a point in their life where they need help. Once they receive the help they need, they are asked to give back to the church by volunteering at their local bishops storehouse in order to give something back. If the person is unemployed, more permanent solutions can be found.

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