Bishop Storehouse: Preparedness solution for the LDS community

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A bishop storehouse is usually a building in which the LDS community’s bishop will keep donations given out by members of the church. These donations are usually in the form of money – the bishop is in charge of purchasing what is needed for the storehouse. Most of the goods held within are food and other common household items available for the people who need them, when they need them.

But it doesn’t stop there. A bishop storehouse is also regarded as a concept within the LDS community. People can sign up to offer help to those in need – be it in social support or even labor. So, for example, in the case of a disaster, people who have not been affected could provide some crucial help in rebuilding and managing the aftermath for those who have been affected.

The most basic function of the storehouse is to host goods which will be distributed to people who need them. Be it disaster situations or more easily manageable personal situations, the idea behind the tradition is to offer a permanent preparedness solution for those in need among the LDS community.

The concept was launched by Joseph Smith Jr. in 1831, when he received a revelation telling him to gather goods in the Lord’s name “to administer to the poor and the needy”. The very first storehouse was built in Kirkland, Ohio by Bishop Newel K. Whitney.

A bishop storehouse initially was supplied by members of the church who were asked to fast on a Thursday and the food that they did not consume on that day went into the storehouse. But in time, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints decided to move the day to Sunday, in order to avoid hardship due to not eating on a workday. In time, bishops decided to gather money instead and purchase goods and food as needed, thus offering a better management of the storehouse.

Community member volunteer to help manage the storehouse itself. The tasks usually amount to storing the goods, managing their location within the storehouse and inventory tasks in which the goods are accounted for. Also, the volunteers keep the storehouse clean to health standards. The bishop coordinates every task and manages the storehouse entirely. He gets his help from the local Relief Society president. The latter can also distribute goods to the needy or poor, in the case in which the bishop is not available.

In most cases, a bishop storehouse is a building designed to hold the goods which will wait to be delivered to those in need. But there are cases in which a LDS community cannot afford a physical location for a storehouse. In those cases, in case someone needs help, a bishop will organize a fast offering and people will donate what they can to those in need. This is also a method in which a bishop can ensure that people with special dietary needs get what they need, when they need it.

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