Updates to Church Welfare Centers Allow for Prepackaging

  By Michael Ann McKinlay, Church News staff writer

  • 25 September 2013

Prepackaging food items such as hard red wheat, pinto beans, and quick oats creates efficiency and easier access to food storage items.  Photo by Michael Ann McKinlay, Church News.

Article Highlights

  • Changes in Church welfare centers yield prepackaged products, allowing for more convenient access to food storage items.
  • By November 1 all storage centers in the U.S. and Canada plan to have 17 products available for prepack.
  • Prepackaged products include apple slices, macaroni, powdered milk, hot cocoa mix, and sugar.

“More products are available in prepack to save members time, so they can use their time to volunteer in other ways.”
—Dan Johnson, LDS Welfare Services 

Within the last couple of months, the Church has made some significant updates to their welfare centers.

Now it’s even easier for members to get and maintain food storage items, as the LDS home storage centers have changed from self-packaging to prepackaging (already packaged and available for purchase).

“We wanted to make it easier, safer, more convenient, and more available for our members that don’t have some of these [food] products in their own areas,” said Don Johnson, director of production and distribution for LDS Welfare Services. “More products are available in prepack to save members time, so they can use their time to volunteer in other ways.”

Now members can visit their local storage center and purchase what they need without the additional time and labor that comes with self-packing food items.

With this change, it also allows for expansion of the products. Brother Johnson explained that by November 1 they intend for all 101 storage centers in the U.S. and Canada to have nine new products for a total of 17 that will be prepacked and available for members to purchase. Some of the 17 products include apple slices, macaroni, powdered milk, hot cocoa mix, and sugar.

According to the Church’s Providing in the Lord’s Way pamphlet, “Members should build a three-month supply of food that is part of their normal diet; store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted, and gradually build a longer-term supply of food that will sustain life.”

“We’re trying to help members prepare their food storage to follow principles for a long-term basic storage in a way we can help them best fulfill becoming self-reliant,” said Brother Johnson.

Self-reliance is an important aspect of the gospel, as members are counseled to provide for themselves and their families. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof” (“Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action,” Oct. 1977 general conference).

On June 17, the Church released an article explaining that home storage centers were not closing down but were changing canning methods. It stated, “These changes have been considered for some time as the Church has looked at the best way to provide home storage goods to Church members efficiently.”

The Church produces prepackaged food, such as white flour, at Deseret Mills in Kaysville, Utah. Photo courtesy of Welfare Services.

As such, these changes will reduce cross-contamination, freight and sanitation costs, facility space requirements, and complexity for volunteers while increasing safety to volunteers and patrons, customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, food safety, and efficiency.

Despite the packaging change, there are still 12 storehouses located in the western United States and Canada that will continue to offer self-packing.