Many members throughout the U.S. and Canada may remember receiving a cannery assignment once a year and showing up to self-pack bulk food items such as wheat, flour, sugar or even hot chocolate mix in #10 metal cans.
For decades, the Church has been operating canneries — now known as home storage centers — to help provide affordable resources to individuals and families striving to become more self-reliant.
How the Church has met that commitment has evolved over the years. In 2013, all but 12 of the Church’s home storage centers discontinued the self-canning services. Now, as of Nov. 1, 2016, those 12 locations have also suspended self-canning.
“We’re still providing all the same goods that you could pack yourself,” said Don Johnson, division director for the Welfare Department of the Church. “We’ve just packed them for you.”
The decision was influenced by several factors, Brother Johnson explained. Ultimately, their goal is always the same — to provide the opportunity for individuals and families to become more self reliant through basic food storage and “to be good stewards of the resources they’ve been given.”
An article published by Mormon Newsroom in 2013 explained the reason for the initial change, including:
• It’s more efficient and cost effective for the Church to produce and ship high-quality, pre-canned or prepackaged goods in bulk rather than ship the same goods and empty cans to a location where individuals can them on their own.
• By offering the goods pre-canned or prepackaged, the Church utilizes less warehouse space.
• Pre-canned and prepackaged operations allow for higher quality and safer preparation of home storage food.
• It is much more costly to maintain and upgrade facilities that must meet food production standards (such as in a self-canning operation) than it is to maintain a facility that simply distributes pre-canned and prepackaged food.
• Volunteer personnel time can be used more efficiently.
Home storage centers offer about 22 basic food products — such as beans, rice, flour, sugar, sliced apples and more — as well as other items that would be useful in a time of adversity such as a water filtration bottle or volt converter.
Individuals can purchase items at any of the Church’s 101 home storage centers located throughout the U.S. and Canada. All items are also available for purchase online at store.lds.org.