TUCKER, Ga. — Summer often means a decline in donations to food banks, but one local group helps ensure shelves stay stocked year-round.
The Bishops’ Storehouse in Tucker provides food and toiletries to groups like The Place of Forsyth, Meals on Wheels and Atlanta Community Food Bank.
The storehouse’s support goes beyond the Atlanta region, however, providing supplies to food banks as far as Alabama and natural disaster support throughout the southeast.
Owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the storehouse is almost entirely managed by volunteers and missionaries. Most of the food and home goods are produced in church-owned canneries throughout the country.
“One of the things the church really teaches us is to provide service,” said Chris Rusch, one of the storehouse’s managers. “Service is key. We’re just helping our neighbors, helping someone who just needs a hand.”
Rusch said the storehouse mostly serves people who lost their job or were injured and just need temporary support to get back on their feet.
Though run by the church, the services are available to anyone in need. Families or individuals can request help through the local bishop, the equivalent of a pastor or parish priest in the Mormon church, or through the Relief Society.
The storehouse is funded through fast offerings, money donated by church-goers during a periodic fast, usually the first Sunday of every month.
“The idea is you fast two meals and the money you would spend on those meals you give to this, so others can eat,” Volunteer Lee Dawkins said.
The Tucker storehouse is the largest in the Southeast, and acts as the regional base for the church’s Helping Hands program, which assists in natural disaster cleanup. In addition to food and toiletries, the storehouse is stocked with the tools for emergency relief like backup generators, first aid kits and duct tape.
“We try to be first in and last out for any emergency,” Director of Public Affairs Kent Davies said.
Last year, Helping Hands provided disaster relief to Hurricane Florence and Michael victims by sending more than 3,000 volunteers and providing more than 26,000 work hours. This month, they sent supplies to Arkansas to assist areas damaged by flooding.
The storehouse also includes a home storage center, where the public can shop for bulk food that last decades, ideal for emergency preparedness. Bishops’ Storehouse is at 4823 North Royal Atlanta Drive, Tucker.