I wanted to say a little bit about the food orders. For those who don't know, our church has what is called the "Bishop's storehouse". It is a building owned by the church that is a warehouse for food. If a family is in need, the Bishop can request me to order a two week supply of food for them. I go to their home and assess their needs. They make out a two week menu, and together we decide what they will need. I return that information to the Bishop, and he faxes it to the warehouse. Then the family goes there to pick up their order. In the event that they can't go, either I, or someone else gets the food for them.
I have been really impressed with the people who have ordered food. They are careful not to request too much, and they are grateful for what they receive. We look at the food as a kind of sacred donation, because the money for the food comes from the church members. On the first Sunday of every month, we fast for two meals, and give the money we would have spent, to the church. That money is used to pay for the food for the families in need. The money donated is a sacred fund, and so the food should also be looked at in that way. We try to be careful to order only what is needed, and not waste.
This week I went to pick up a couple of the orders. I hadn't been there for about 6 years, and was really impressed with how much it has improved in that time. The food is good quality. While I was there, some people brought in some day old bread that was still good, but which they weren't able to sell in their stores. They also had some heirloom tomatoes that had gone a little soft. It was so nice to be able to pick up a couple of unexpected treats for the families I was helping.
Remember the mentally challenged student I had in seminary? He works at the storehouse now as a missionary. It was fun to see him in action, and he even helped me load groceries in to my car. His 1 year service mission ends in August, and he is already planning to do a second mission. This time he hopes to serve a mission at the Oakland temple!
As I have helped these people this past week, it was a reminder to me that we all should have some reserve food on hand. In our church we are encouraged to have a year's supply of food. In the event of loss of employment, illness, injury, or economic or natural disaster, we will need that food to survive! The Bishop's storehouse was never meant to store enough food for every member of the church. It is meant to only be a help during transition while people get their feet on the ground financially. The more we have stored in our own homes, the better off we will be in the case of widespread disaster or famine. For more information on what to store, click here.