Bulk Food on the Cheap: LDS Storehouses

One of my readers had sent me an email last week wanting to know where to find the storehouses run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or the Mormon church as we’re sometimes called) in order to buy bulk food for long-term food storage.

I thought I’d answer this question in a blog post so that all can benefit from it. I’ll also provide some insight into what they are, what you can find there, and of course where you can find them.

What is an LDS Storehouse?

For those not familiar with the storehouses, I thought I’d explain what they are and what their purpose is.

The LDS storehouses (or Bishop’s Storehouse as we call them) were established as part of the welfare system set up by the Church which aims at providing assistance to needy families and individuals within (as well as outside) the Church.

The main purpose of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to not only care for the needy but to teach principles that will allow needy persons to become self-reliant and retain their self-respect (it’s the whole “teach a man to fish” kind of thing which is missing in our nation’s welfare program). Welfare recipients are not only given education and job placement assistance, but they are also asked to work (if able) on Church farms, in the Church storehouses and so on. This helps them retain a sense of self-worth and prevents an entitlement program.

Funding for the welfare program (which includes the storehouses) is provided by donations from Church members. One Sunday a month, members of the Church go without two meals (a fast) and give the money they would have spent on food to the Church.

What Can You Find at the Storehouse?

The storehouses themselves consist mostly of food items — some being your basic groceries that needy families can come and “shop” from as well as a large portion of bulk foods (typically 25lb bags) such as wheat, rice, legumes, oats, dry milk, dehydrated vegetables and so on. Most of these bulk food items are grown by Church-owned farms that are run by volunteers. These are then processed and sent to distribution centers (storehouses) across the country to be distributed to families in need.

The other purpose of the storehouse is to help Church members obtain a year’s supply of food. To assist with that, within most of the storehouses is an area called the “cannery” where church members can dry-pack the bulk food they purchase. The facilities are usually equipped with #10 metal-can and mylar-bag sealers (or you can just leave with the bulk packaging if you want).

The prices of these bulk foods tend to be very cheap since the storehouses, farms, and canneries are all operated by volunteers, and the church doesn’t make a profit from them. To give you an example, a 25lb bag of hard-red wheat goes for around $6 at the storehouse whereas the typical online price for the same amount goes for around $20.

Here’s the current list of available bulk foods at the storehouse and prices in dollars as of today (for an always up-to-date list of prices you can click here):

Where Can I Find an LDS Storehouse?

LDS storehouses can be found throughout the world. Click on the map below to take you to the Church site which has the most up-to-date list of available storehouses near you:

Can Non-Members Purchase from the Storehouse?

One common question I hear is if non-members can buy bulk food from the storehouses.

Although there is no set rule (it’s probably storehouse dependent), of all the storehouses I’ve been in the United States, they have all allowed non-members to purchase bulk foods. The only restriction I’ve heard is that some storehouses allow it as long as you’re accompanied by a member. The best thing to do is to call the number of the storehouse near you. They’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have (we don’t bite…hard that is :)).

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