A new state-of-the-art storage facility is helping The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) more efficiently serve the needs of people who are struggling to feed their families.
Latter-day Saints, through the organization of the Church, try to follow Christ’s teachings by providing food, shelter and comfort where and when they’re needed.
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“The Church does not do this for financial gain. We do not have cash registers … in our storehouses, nor do we accept money for the goods we distribute,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church. “We do not do it to be seen and to receive their praise. We do this because it is what the Savior commanded us to do."
While the Church welfare program is to help those in need on a temporary basis, “the greater goal is to help people become self-reliant and provide for themselves,” added Don Johnson, director of product and distribution for Church Welfare Services.
To maintain and enhance its ability to help those in need, the Church recently completed a 570,391 square foot Bishops’ Central Storehouse at 5405 West 300 South in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Food and supplies stored at the Utah Bishops’ Central Storehouse are distributed to central storehouses in five other regions of the United States and Canada. From these storehouses, food and materials are sent to more than 200 smaller bishops’ storehouses in communities of those regions for distribution.
Ecclesiastical leaders (bishops) of congregations in those communities are able to call in food and supply orders for their members who they determine are in need. Those members, in turn, have an opportunity to give volunteer service to pay for the goods received so that they are, in essence, given a hand up, not a hand out.
The new storehouse is a fully equipped facility and stores 143 different food and sundry items. Among the food items are corn, beans, turkey and beef chunks, cheese, milk, cereals, butter, ice cream, peanut butter and a variety of produce, both fresh and canned. Also stocked are hand soap, shampoo, soap for washing dishes, toilet paper and other hygiene items.
Supplies are stacked on specially designed steel shelves using a system of rotating product to maintain freshness. The storehouse has ample room to keep thousands of items frozen in a large sub-degree freezer accessible to forklifts, and maintains dairy and produce in a chilly 38-degree refrigerator. A refrigerated staging dock also makes loading perishable items for shipment more efficient.
The facility houses a fleet of Deseret Transportation semi-trucks and trailers with 44 loading docks to move products and necessities to wherever they are needed. The trucks and their drivers travel approximately 3.7 million miles each year with a safety record second to none.
One of the unique features of the new storehouse is the fact that it was built under seismic guidelines to withstand a 7.0 earthquake and to stay in operation during an earthquake of that magnitude.
The main function of the new central storehouse is to administer to the poor and needy through the Church’s welfare system. On occasion, emergency equipment such as electrical generators, shovels, chain saws, picks, food and supplies are also dispatched to areas of the world where people have suffered the effects of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Johnson said the employees and missionaries who keep the storehouse clean, stocked and ready to deliver food and supplies don’t see their roles as just workers. “They enjoy and have a passion for what they do because of their love to serve others.”
Read about the dedication of the Bishops' Central Storehouse on News and Events
Read news coverage:
Mormons open mammoth new storehouse to feed the needy, Salt Lake Tribune
The new Bishops' Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City, Ogden Standard Examiner