TWIN FALLS — The bishops' storehouse was closed Wednesday night, but it was bustling with activity.
About 20 people were quickly restocking empty shelves with canned goods and toiletries. The cans were arranged perfectly with labels facing out: Pear halves, applesauce and corn.
Inside a cooler, two young boys wearing coats placed cartons of milk, eggs and butter behind glass doors.
It looked like a typical restocking night at a grocery store, but there was no cash register and the walls were decorated with pictures of Jesus Christ. And the workers were mostly youth volunteers from wards in Filer and Buhl. The bishops' storehouse is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is open only twice a week and its mission is to help those in need.
The bishops' storehouse is a resource to help those in need — Mormon and non-Mormon — with food and other supplies. People need to meet with the area bishop and bring a bishops’ order form to the storehouse to receive two weeks of food for a family. The majority of the food offered is grown, canned and processed on farms owned by the LDS church. The goods are transported to more than 100 bishops' storehouses across the U.S. and Canada.
"When the savior was on earth he went out to help the poor and needy," said Ray Parrish, an LDS spokesman. "That's what this facility is for — to help people become self-reliant. It's all based on love and compassion for the savior."
For more than 40 years, the only bishops' storehouse in the Magic Valley was in Burley. That meant people in Twin Falls and surrounding communities had to drive more than 40 miles away to receive help.
The bishop's storehouse in Twin Falls opened June 29. It is 50 percent larger than the facility in Burley.
Over the years, orders had been filled in Burley and delivered by truck on certain days to communities such as Twin Falls and Shoshone. But orders are filled only when a bishop signs off. If someone had an emergency, it often meant traveling to Burley. The Burley storehouse served people as far away as Sun Valley and Carey.
"They love the idea," Parrish said. "They come here rather than meeting a truck somewhere."
People who get help at the bishops' storehouse can walk the aisles with a shopping cart and pick out the items they need. There are 135 items available at the storehouse.
There are also 24 items available at the home storage center located next to the storehouse. Any member of the community can buy bulk items without a voucher from the bishop.
"The whole idea is to foster self-reliance within the community," Parrish said. "We know that things happen to people. A lot of times people look at home storage as when a disaster occurs. We encourage people to get a couple months supply of food. Things you can use and make meals with."
The items are sealed in nitrogen and will last for 25 years. Parrish picked up a can of oats and shook it to show they were dry inside.
"If it gets flooded, it will still be here when the flood waters go down," Parrish said.