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Bishop Storehouse: An LDS Community Tradition

The bishop Storehouse is a very important tradition of the LDS community. The storehouse is meant to hold goods and food for those in need, especially in critical conditions like when a disaster occurs.

There is a very good aspect about these kinds of storehouses. Families which are in need, or any members of the LDS community might reach a point in their lives when they find themselves in need of a little bit of help. That help could be in the form of food or some common household items. All they need to do is apply to the local bishop storehouse and the bishop will analyze the application and decide whether the person or family qualifies. After that, the bishop will also establish what goods will that person or family get.

This is not a poorly thought of tradition – the help given is not meant to keep coming to those in need for a lifetime. Basically, it should provide them with a starting ground from which they could build up on their own efforts. As the Bible saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

All the goods in the bishop storehouse are donated or bought from donations. The donors are the members of the LDS community. At first, the tradition stated that all LDS members should fast on a Thursday and the food thus saved should be given to the church. But then it became harder for people to fast on a work day, so the church decided that Sunday would be a better fit for a fast day. People should save two meals and donate at least the cost of those two meals to the church. In the beginning, they would donate the food itself, but when the market grew a lot wider, the church decided that it is best to donate money. The bishop then decides exactly what to buy, depending on what the community needs or what the storehouse is lacking.

One important aspect of the bishop storehouse is its role in the community’s preparedness. While members are highly encouraged to keep emergency supplies at all times, some might not be able to afford this and others might not be so preoccupied by the possibilities of disasters. In the unfortunate cases in which these disasters do happen, it is people like this who will be in greater need of help than others which are prepared. The goods are dispersed immediately to those in need, helping them rebuild or giving them some starting supplies.

In return for the goods received from the bishop storehouse, people usually are asked to do some volunteer work. In case of disasters, they would be required to help others in need, aiding the help the church gives. If it’s not a disaster, then people would need to do some voluntary help, usually inside the storehouse (helping with arranging goods and inventory).

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