Around the time that I was finishing high school, my parents ran into some financial difficulties. Everyone goes through something like that at one point or another. Since there were still 3 children living at home, food was something that was essential, especially since two of us were teenagers. One day, my mom asked me if I wanted to go grocery shopping with her. I was a little confused that we didn’t take the turn to the Wal-mart, but instead headed towards a western part of town. We went to a white building that didn’t really look like anything special. When we got into the building, it was like a mini grocery store. I asked my mom what this place was, to which she replied, “It’s called the bishop’s storehouse.” She went on to explain that a bishop’s storehouse is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly called the Mormon Church). When families or individuals of the Church are going through hard times, they can meet with their bishop (the leader of a congregation) and put together a list of basic foods and supplies they need.
The private contributions of other members of the LDS Church make the bishop’s storehouse possible. One Sunday a month, the members of the The Church of Jesus Christ are asked to fast for two meals. The money that they would have spent on those meals is given as a fast offering to the bishop of their ward. With these finances, the bishop helps provide for those who don’t have enough money to cover their expenses at that time. The Church owns ranches for meat and large farms and orchards. Food grown on these farms is canned by volunteers.
The welfare program of the Church is well known throughout the world. People from all walks of life travel to Church headquarters to see firsthand how the Church cares for the poor and needy without creating dependency on the part of those who receive or bitterness on the part of those who give. A president of a country, after visiting Welfare Square, canceled the remainder of his appointments for the day. “There is something here that is more important than anything else I have on my schedule,” he said. “I must stay and learn more” (“Inspired Church Welfare,” Ensign, May 1999, 76).
Workers in the bishop’s storehouse are all unpaid volunteers. I wanted to help out when we were getting food from the Church, so I volunteered to help out at the Storehouse. It was such a wonderful experience to give back to the Church and the Lord when they were providing for me and my family. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,not only provides food for families, but it can also provide clothes and job counseling. Deseret Industries is a thrift store owned by the Church that trains people and teaches them essential skills to help them find a job.
Knowing that the Church will always be there for me, if I am ever in need, is a feeling that I cannot express. I know that nothing comes free, though. Volunteering to help the Church can provide many blessings in your life. I love paying fast offerings and working at the Storehouse, just having the feeling that I’ve done something good for others, and that I’m a part of something that works so well to help others.