Mormon church to up its food donations by 20 million pounds a year, providing more finished foods, less raw wheat

(Rachel Molenda | The Salt Lake Tribune) Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé visits with Latter-day Saints in Spring, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it will boost its food donations to community charities by more than 20 million pounds a year — by converting raw wheat reserves into finished foods.

“The church recently decided it may be more helpful for the families and community agencies we serve to supply pasta, pancake mix, flour and other ‘finished’ goods rather than raw wheat, which is often hard to process at home," President Bishop Gérald Caussé said in a news release.

The change in food donations will come over “the next several years,” said Caussé, who oversees the Utah-based faith’s financial, real estate, investment and charitable operations.

Because of the church’s change, a storage facility in Latty, Ohio, will shut down and volunteer hours will be stepped up at the Deseret Mill and Pasta Plant in Kaysville.

Church members are being urged to re-evaluate their own food storage choices.

“Having the finished products helps us provide for needs more quickly, particularly in emergencies, and to share more readily with those in need,” David Frischknecht, managing director of the church’s welfare operations, said in the release.

Jean B. Bingham, president of the church’s all-female Relief Society, said Latter-day Saints "may want to make similar adjustments from time to time in their food-storage plans to ensure availability for their own use and to share with others.”

The church will continue to sell raw wheat through home storage centers and store.lds.org. And, going forward, it will try to provide selected finished products that members may find more convenient during emergencies. It will also continue to partner with other agencies to assist those in need.