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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40 Comments»

Comment by Nytestryker
2010-09-23 23:01:40

Thank you for this article. It answered all of my questions.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-09-24 02:03:20

You’re welcome. Thanks for reading!

 
 
Comment by Mike Mc
2010-11-16 11:48:20

Took your advice and went to one in the Northeast two weeks ago. I bought over 700lbs of wheat, sugar, beans, dried milk, etc.. The people at the store were very nice to me and knew I wasn’t a “member”. The stuff is cheap as dirt! At least 50% cheaper than what you’d buy through an on-line store. They even have #10 canning process there that I used on a 25 lb bag of hot chocolate. 5 cans later I now have hot cocoa for the next 20-30 years. I’ll definately be going back and will stock up on more of the #10 cans that they sell already packed and then take some more bulk items and can them myself. I want this stuff to last for a very long time. Buying in bulk is great IF you use it regularly (which I don’t) or if you have it properly store (which I am in the process of doing).

FYI, on the hard red and white wheat I bought seperate galvanized trash cans for each and filled them to the top. They should last in this container indefinately (I have them stored in my basement @70 degress with a dehumidifier running year round).

Buy as much as you can. Prices WILL be going up a lot over the next few years as hyperinflation kicks in.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-11-16 23:47:07

Mike,

Thanks for the follow-up comment. Glad to hear that you had a good experience at the storehouse.

For all you that have a storehouse nearby, it’s worth your while to head on down and pick up some bulk foods for dirt cheap prices.

 
 
Comment by Dana
2010-11-18 14:21:45

Am I understanding correctly that these Storehouses are intended to benefit ‘needy families’ (in addition to the church members)?

I don’t quite understand if they are open to everyone?

Thank you.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-11-20 14:08:28

Hey Dana,

Good question. Most storehouses serve dual purposes. They allow church members to stock up on their bulk food storage as well as provide a pantry open to needy families (members and non-members) in the community. Most storehouses that I’ve been to allow non-members to purchase the bulk foods available. Be sure to call your particular one first for it may be different depending on the storehouse you go to.

 
 
Comment by JHansen
2010-12-30 20:16:45

Also a point to note on these is that while they sell by the “Can,” you may have to can it yourself. If a particular item you’re looking for is not in stock in the can, they will assist you in canning it yourself. The point here is – don’t just go on a whim. You may have to spend an hour or more canning the food you’re purchasing.

Also – they don’t accept plastic! They will accept payment in the form of cash or personal checks.

And I’m pretty sure that the storehouses for “needy” families generally require forms filled out from the bishop in the ward where you live. You may need to contact the church (you can find the contact info at lds.org) to find your bishop.

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2010-12-31 14:29:57

Great info. Thanks Jessica!

 
 
Comment by PAUL
2011-01-12 19:11:53

Many many thank you for this information it was veryvery usful.

Thank you very much all and have a good year.

Comment by joseph
 
 
Comment by IdahoMichelle
2011-01-15 13:37:11

Thanks for posting the information about the LDS canneries. I made a visit a couple weeks ago and was very pleased. The folks there couldn’t have been nicer and were very helpful. There was no problem with the fact that we are not members. I left with the beginnings of our storage. The cannery here also does wet pack so we can come and volunteer and be able to purchase things like canned meats, fruits and honey. I’m looking forward to being able to add more to our family’s food storage.

Thanks again!

Michelle in ID

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-01-15 20:57:27

That’s great to hear Michele! I’m glad many of you are having good experiences at the cannery. It really us a wonderful resource for food storage.

 
 
Comment by Amac
2011-04-08 13:05:57

A question. I used the foot storage calculator to figure out what our food supply needs might be for a year and got a surprising answer…900 lbs of grains, 100 lbs of beans? Anyone have any idea how much physical space a half ton of this would take?

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2011-04-08 22:50:30

Amac,

You’ll want to figure about 35 lbs of wheat or beans per 5 gallon bucket. This amounts to around 29 buckets for 1000 lbs (900 wheat, 100 beans)..

With each 5-gallon bucket around 15 inches high and 12 inches in diameter (on the top), you’ll need about 36 square feet of space (total volume measurement).

So if you stack them 5 high (what you’ll want to fit under an average 8-foot high ceiling) you’ll need about 6 columns of buckets (again, with each column stacked 5 high). This equates to six square feet (3×2 in this case) of floor space. Not bad considering you’ve just stored a half a ton of food!

- Erich

 
 
Comment by Kyle
2011-08-24 00:19:53

Thanks for the Info!

As long as we understand in our Christian family that Jesus Christ is part of the holy trinity, everything is fine. The Father, son and holy spirit.

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with GOD and the word was GOD.

 
Comment by Jennifer
2011-10-25 19:50:21

I am a member and this articlewas still very helpful. Thank you! I go to the feed stores and buy the white feed buckets for a couple of dollars each. Then go to http://beprepared.com/category.asp_Q_c_E_444 and purchase some gamma lids for $7.50 each. (you can order as a group and get free shipping). These are really easy to open and have a great water proof seal. Well worth the money to protect your investment. I refill the buckets as I use them.

I would also like to respond to Kyle. It does not matter if we all agree with everyones religious beliefs or not. Working together and helping one another is the important thing here. It’s all about love and support. Remember this great article is talking about building up your food source not religion.

2011-10-26 06:35:05

Thanks for your comments Jennifer!

 
 
Comment by mechelle henry
2012-03-07 19:48:31

I am going to start mine and am looking forward to it. I wanted to say that yes this isn’t about anyone’s religion. I am not morman, but I have to give respect and thanks where it is due. The morman church does what we should have all been doing. They have gotten alot of flack for it, but since we have fallen on harder times and have seen inflation in food some of our friends and family are seeing the wise hand here in promoting that in their religion. I wish I would have had that mind set sooner and everyone I know. You can survive and have quality of life if you have food, water and a roof over the head. We can do without everything else………..but those three things keeps us safe. So our thanks go out to the morman community for allowing us non members to participate.

2012-03-08 08:53:36

Thanks for the great comments Mechelle

 
 
Comment by Susan
2012-04-16 21:37:26

I’d like to know more about the wheat prices and availability in my area. Are these prices at all canneries? I also just want to buy the products in bulk. No need for buckets or mylar. Already have my own. Is that possible?

2012-04-16 21:43:18

Susan,

All prices are the same at canneries nationwide. You can find a list of prices and locations by following the links in the article.

 
 
Comment by Kimberly
2012-06-25 08:30:13

Hi
This is most excellent info!
My family and I are vivaciaous meat eatters.
What is the best source for canned meat/fish or meat/protien in general?
I know we will have to limit comsumtion, but my body type does much better on meat.
Also what are the cheapest source for quinoa, brown rice, nuts and seeds for more immediate use ( in the next few years) ?
We are planning on raising rabbits, they producue more meat in 1 year than a steer!
But we would like a back up, for just in case….
Thank you
Kimberly

 
Comment by AllenK
2012-08-22 12:47:17

I know a group feeding the hungary tat received a food donation and before distributing to the needy, they blocked out any reference to Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints on the labels. Any comment?

 
Comment by Bill
2012-08-31 15:29:28

Aloha Mike Mc.

Please note that the Hot coco from the stake center has a 2 year shelf life. All storage life in years are on the order form.
Just pouring the grain into a metal garbage can is not the best storage procedure. Oxygen and moisture (both plentiful in a basement even with a dehumidifier) are the main enemys of food storage. Repackaging in Mylar and then vacuum sealing the bag with an oxy absorber inside will keep your food fresher. I also recommend that you do use your stored foods or at least buy more to eat and leave your stashed food stashed. If you have never eaten hard red and white wheat and all of the sudden start, your body will not do well as it is not accustomed to these all natural non-processed foods. Results are similar to eating MRE’s for a week. Same with the beans

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-04 10:38:18

Thanks Bill,

Great comments.

 
 
Comment by dan r
2012-09-03 00:00:24

You are correct, the Bishop’s Storehouse is actually a separate operation from the food storage program even though they are usually in the same building. I believe non members are welcome to participate, but you will be expected to assist in canning if you need it done.

 
Comment by dan r
2012-09-03 00:08:10

The best source for meat products long term storage is to buy meats on sale, then can them yourself. This way you aren’t dependent on electricity for frozen storage, plus you retain flavor much better. Once you have your pressure canner the costs really aren’t bad. If you live close to a fairly large metropolitan area as I do, you can often find jars & other supplies at yard sales of craig’s List. Only caveat-lot of work!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-04 10:24:46

Right on Dan. That’s a very economical way of storing meats.

 
 
Comment by Hurricane
2012-09-26 12:24:16

Thank you for the article. Can I quote you on the teach a man to fish thing missing from our welfare system? I love the analogy.

2012-10-02 13:36:20

sure :)

 
 
Comment by Debby
2012-10-02 03:09:19

The storehouse is mainly for the needy members of the church. If you are not a member of the church, you usually fare better if you go to the bishop of the ward building closest to where you live. He will determine whether he can help and how much. He will write an order for the storehouse, and you can pick it up when it is delivered to that building. Generally speaking, storehouse bishops would prefer not to deal with “walk-ins”, but most people in need will be helped at least once. The storehouses usually also have an employment specialist attached who can aid you in finding work.

2012-10-02 13:35:09

Hi Debby,

Just wanted to clarify some things. Storehouses typically consist of two operations, a pantry and a cannery. Most storehouses are absolutely fine with any walk-ins coming to buy the bulk food from the cannery — whether members or not members. Like you said, the pantry is typically for needy members of the church but is in some cases open to the public.

 
 
Comment by Nora
2012-10-04 21:20:08

I called the Fresno, ca storehouse today and they said non-members are fine, open on Tues, and Thursday.

 
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Comment by Toby
2013-07-24 16:42:16

They are for the benefit of the entire community, not just for members only :D That is Christ’s law for these establishments of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Its easiest to call them and get the number of the Bishopric of your personal neighborhood. You can then talk with them about your plans for how much you will be needing and how often, so the Storehouse can factor that into its ordering and accommodate your family’s needs over the months and years going forward :)

The Storehouses do sell bulk food, but if you are need any would like some regular groceries too, talk with your neighborhood Bishopric about getting an order form completed.

 
2013-08-14 17:11:19

Thank you! great info! Do you know if the church operates any storehouses in europe? after all, more than half the members live outside US.

 
Comment by edna short
2014-02-02 05:02:08

Where can I find a list & prices of the meats and anything else they sell.

 
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