Breaking News! More dramatic changes for LDS Canneries nationwide!
As you may recall, earlier this year I broke the news initially about the big changes that were made by the LDS Church amongst their Canneries (aka Home Storage Centers). If you aren't aware, these facilities have been an excellent way for members of the LDS Church, as well as non-members, to obtain premiumn quality food at rock bottom prices. Well, unfortunately, I’ve got even more breaking news to share with you today in this regard and it’s definitely going to be unpleasant news for a whole lot of people who have discovered the merits of these facilities in their communities.
Effective Nov. 1st, 2013, EIGHTY-NINE (89) of the remaining 101 LDS Canneries (aka Home Storage Centers) will NO LONGER function as anything other than a very limited retail store. In fact, there will no longer be canning supplies made available at these facilities, no more than FIVE bulk food items to purchase, and there will no longer be any canning equipment to loan so that families can preserve their own items in the #10 cans. In fact, there will be NO canning equipment on site at these 89 facilities. (see official LDS Church Memo regarding the LDS Canneries inserted >)
There are only 12 facilities that will be immune to these sweeping changes. These 12 facilities will still provide access to canning supplies, numerous bulk foods, and canning equipment to borrow, such as #10 can sealers. These 12 facilities are as follows:
Idaho Falls, ID
St George, UT
Welfare Square (Salt Lake City), UT
Wow! Just Wow! *taking a breath* I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like there’s no longer a reason to call these other 89 facilities “Home Storage Centers”. They will now be operating as nothing more than a retail store and a very limited one at that as far as choices are concerned.
The facilities that are undergoing these changes are eliminating all but 5 of their bulk items! These remaining five bulk items are as follows: White Beans, Black Beans, Refried Beans, Carrots, and Onions. Unfortunately though, the bulk carrots and onions will NOT be kept in inventory. Bulk purchases of onions and carrots will need to be paid for in advance and will be sent in on the next truck coming to deliver at that facility.
Plastic lids that fit the #10 cans will still be offered but NO OTHER CANNING supplies will be available. The equipment, such as the portable can seamers, portable canners and pouch sealers are expected to be removed from these 89 facilities by the 15th of November.
ALL 101 of the Home Storage Centers will be offering other retail items in sizes that are larger than what you would normally see in the grocery stores, such as #10 cans or large mylar-type bag packages, however, the scope of such items will be limited to the following:
Fruit Drink Mix, Regular Oats, Quick Oats, Powdered Milk, Hot Cocoa Mix, Sugar, Macaroni, Spaghetti Bites, Apple Slices, White Rice, White Wheat, Hard Red Wheat, White Flour, Pancake Mix, Pinto Beans, Potato Pearls and Potato Flakes. (Thank goodness though that they have brought back their potato pearls. I can eat those directly out of the can—they are that good!)
This information was originally sent out to all of the canneries in the first week of October. However, for some reason this information has not been spread properly as most of those persons that I've talked to in creating this story, were shocked by the news. In fact, two facility managers had to confirm this with their LDS Church contacts. (Which they did, of course).
One of the documents that I was able to see gives an odd explanation for these changes.
“In an effort to continue our program of providing high-quality basic home storage products to our members at a low cost and to improve self-reliance in their homes…”
I can’t help but look at these changes and wonder how in the world does offering LESS bulk, only a smattering of other retail products, with no further access to canning equipment makes ANY home more self-reliant, unless, of course the goal is to make them wholly self-reliant without any influence, guidance, or tangible resources provided by the LDS church. To me, this major change has a whole set of clues that gives me the impression that the LDS Church sees fit to mitigate any further exposure they might have to the relentless bullies employed at the FDA, USDA, EPA, and any other government entities. "Refusing to play ball" is sometimes the only answer when reason and congruency fails to exist in a business relationship.
Do you remember the “official” statement offered by the LDS Church when I posted the breaking news article about dozens of LDS Canneries that would no longer be offering on site canning? In May, of this year, Ruth Todd, LDS spokeswoman said "Over time, we will be reducing the number of facilities where the packaging of dry goods occurs. “(the church's) home storage centers will offer the same or additional commodities in pre-packaged form, at no additional cost." (emphasis added) And yet here we are, only 7 months later, and the changes are even more significant than what they were presented in May. Clearly there will be NO packaging of even dry goods at 89 of their 101 facilities, and they’re clearly not keeping the “same” commodities, let alone “additional commodities” at these locations.
Are we really to believe that none of this has to do with the interference of government entities? The LDS Church is VERY frugal in their use of tithes and fast offerings, thus I’m not convinced that they suddenly have been confronted with escalating wholesale costs that they didn’t already anticipate. The 4 interviews that I’ve conducted today with LDS Church cannery insiders has led me to believe that once again, Big Brother has been a Big Bully—to the point that the LDS Church has decided that they no longer want to play ball with them at these 89 facilities. Furthermore, a recent e-mail was shared with me that originated from one of the managers of one of the canneries that would be affected by these new changes. This message comes from a LDS field office manager in Utah and specifically states that these changes were “part of the final transition of the Home Canning Centers.” (emphasis added). No such transitions were mentioned in May when my original article made its rounds through the media and garnered official statements from the LDS Church. That’s just one more reason why I’m having a hard time believing that this recent bit of news was actually planned back then as opposed to being a response to present pressures that have persisted from U.S. government inspectors.
One inside source I spoke to on the phone today had this opinion to share, “they (the U.S. Government representatives) keep changing the game. In the Spring we thought that we made enough changes to appease even the most vicious of beasts, but apparently we did not, because they still kept coming to the point that it’s no longer viable for us to operate these other locations as we have done in the past.” (To be clear, this is MERELY an opinion, and not an official statement on behalf of the LDS Church.)
I was unable to get a direct quote from anyone in the welfare department of the LDS Church, nor did I bother trying to get a straight answer from any Utah politicians. (Like they’d really tell this nobody in Orem what’s really going on?)
In my opinion, this is really a shame as these facilities have long helped the communities in which they operate for decades—both LDS and non-LDS—and have provided affordable resources to help families be more self-reliant. I’m saddened by the thought that these structures will not even begin to be utilized to their full potential now, though there’s a part of me that trusts that the Lord will turn this snag into something more wonderful just as He’s done with other seemingly disastrous events.
All this being said, there IS an opportunity here. If you live near an LDS Cannery/Home Storage Center that is transforming into one of these limited retail stores, I STRONGLY encourage you to get over there NOW so that you can take advantage of getting what bulk items and canning supplies they have left for sale and get them while you still can. My sources tell me that SOME of these items will be REMOVED instead of sold and some removed if they do not sell. So get on the stick, if you’re so inclined to “get while the gettin’s good.”
Another benefit may be exactly what was alluded to by another source I spoke with today when he said, “It’s clear to me that (these changes) are sending the message that people are going to have to stop looking at the LDS Church to take care of them and start taking responsibility for themselves.” Clearly he’s at least one person who’s looking at the good that these events may bring. I hope that others will learn from this as well, because the previous changes that took place in May have had an undeniable impact at the Home Storage Centers all over the U.S. Three sources at three different canneries in the Southeast, Midwest, and Northwest all shared the same tale of drastically reduced number of patrons at their facility. With such a small selection of goods and so few bulk items, I can’t imagine that those numbers would improve.
My sources tell me that much of the equipment that’s being removed is being sent to their regional distribution points, but I will tell you that I’ll be keeping a sharp lookout for any of the #10 canners that may make their way onto a classified ad to be sold. I’d LOVE to have one of those in my home permanently. I can dream, can’t I? Unfortunately though, I’ve just been informed that none of these items will be for sale except directly through http://store.LDS.org. But it’s at least got me wondering if there are some of these pieces of equipment that others are selling in gently used condition, so now, I’m on a mission to find one. *grin* Can’t you just imagine how much fun I would have to bring home my dry goods and put them immediately into a #10 can and seal them? Not only that, but I could consolidate all of these #10 cans of freeze-dried goods (that never take up all the space in the cans) and thus save storage space!
Lemons out of lemonade, friends.
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