I've heard of food banks and people going to them in hard times, but the Mormons seem to know how to do it best with one of the most sophisticated private welfare systems in the country, according to a San Francisco Chronicle story.

Besides offering groceries from Mormon-owned farms and cattle ranches, the Mormon storehouses offer counseling, employment help, a self-canning facility and up to a year's worth of food supplies to other Mormons in the event of an emergency. I didn't know it until I read the Chronicle story, but there's one near where I live, in Concord, Calif.

The 110 storehouses around the country are run by volunteers as part of the Mormon idea of self-sufficiency. Demand at the centers have increased 20% in the past year.

Observant Mormons are expected to volunteer some of their time regularly. The church has 5.9 million members nationally and 750,000 in California, so it has plenty to draw on.

The storehouses were first started by church members after they began a series of journeys to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah in 1847. They were used to store grains and other good along the trail to ease the journey for others.

During the Great Depression, the then-president of the church, Heber J. Grant, said he had a revelation from God about the welfare system created by the New Deal, and the current concept of storehouses was established.

Self sufficiency. It could become the buzzword of the recession.


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