“In the next several years we anticipate increasing food donations to community charities by more than 20 million pounds annually,” said Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In explaining the increase in food contributions, Bishop Caussé continued, “The Church recently decided it may be more helpful for the families and community agencies we serve to supply pasta, pancake mix, flour and other ‘finished’ goods rather than raw wheat, which is often hard to process at home.”
The Church has been gathering wheat since 1876 when Brigham Young asked Emmeline B. Wells to organize a wheat storage program. According to some estimates, the wheat silo today on Welfare Square in Utah has enough grain to feed a small city for six months.
Church members also have a long history of applying Jesus’s commandment to “love one another,” donating their labor and sharing essential food to people in need.
Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president and a member of the Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Executive Committee, said, “Food storage is a foundational principle of self-reliance, taught to Latter-day Saint families worldwide. Just as the Church adapts food production and storage projects according to changing needs, families may want to make similar adjustments from time to time in their food storage plans to ensure availability for their own use and to share with others.”
The Church encourages families worldwide to keep their food storage current as personal circumstances and local regulations allow. David Frischknecht, managing director of the Church’s welfare operations, says, “The recent decision to convert a portion of our stored grain into finished products is an example of adapting to changing situations. In this case, having the finished products helps us provide for needs more quickly, particularly in emergencies, and to share more readily with those in need.”
The conversion of a portion of the grain reserve into finished products necessitates some operational adjustments, such as closing the Latty, Ohio, storage facility and increasing the volunteer hours at the Deseret Mill and Pasta Plant in Kaysville, Utah.
The Church will continue its practice of partnering with other agencies in assisting those in need. The beneficiaries of the expected donations have not been determined.
The Church will continue to provide raw wheat for purchase through home storage centers and store.lds.org and will seek to provide selected finished products that many members of the Church may find to be more convenient to use in a time of need. Commercial products may also be used to develop food storage for the home.