Satellite bishops’ storehouse in Maui helps those in need

Life on the island of Maui means beautiful views, beaches, peaks, pools and waterfalls. But Hawaii is an expensive state to live in, and food costs have risen with inflation. Many of the jobs are in the low-paying service or tourism industries — and a growing number of Church members have asked for help to make ends meet.

Bishops’ storehouses allow those in need to obtain food and other supplies on the recommendation of their bishop. The storehouse is filled with food and supplies paid for by fast offerings and other donations from Church members.

But about 100 miles of ocean separate Maui from the nearest bishops’ warehouse in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. For this reason, in September 2022, the Church created the Maui Satellite Bishops’ Storehouse.

Church members and leaders hope this service will be a resource to serve those in need while helping them learn and apply the principles of self-reliance.

Elder Trank Mabellos and Sister Jennifer Mabellos—the missionary couple who were called and set apart as stewards of the storehouse—spoke to Church News about the progress of the trial.

The model uses Bishop’s online ordering system and mirrors the process at brick-and-mortar warehouses across the United States. But on Maui, goods are delivered by a local grocer. Every other Thursday, goods are shipped to the Kahului Hawaii West Stake Center and then organized for collection. As of January 26, there have been 10 distribution events since launch.

Elder Mabellos picks up a rental truck in the morning and drives to the local supplier who has agreed to supply the needed goods. He often has two full-time young missionaries with him who, along with the supplier’s workers, load the truck with the ordered pallets of groceries and other household and personal care items.


Crates of groceries will be loaded onto carts for transportation to the Kahului Hawaii West Stake Center on opening day, September 22, 2022, as part of the Maui Satellite Bishops’ warehouse in Maui, Hawaii.

Meanwhile, Sister Mabellos and other volunteers are preparing the stake center for receiving goods.

“The members help us unload and sort. You all meet us over there around 8:30 or 9:00 to set up all the tables. Then when the truck comes, they separate everything,” she said.

Chilled products such as produce, meat, cheese and dairy are placed in refrigerators and the non-perishable items are placed on tables using carts or carts.

Members arrive between 11am and 1pm. “Volunteers take the dried crate items and go to the cooler, pick up perishables, and then deliver them to the car,” Sister Mabellos said.

People often have multiple family members living in the same household, and Elder and Sister Mabellos said bishops and Relief Society presidents have adjusted the ordering process as they learn how best to meet needs. The model will also be examined and compared to what other remote locations are doing to meet the needs of their members — for example, members in need on two other Hawaiian islands are given gift cards to buy groceries at grocery stores.


Volunteers place meal orders on tables at the Kahului Hawaii West Center Stake on September 22, 2022 for confidential collection through the Maui Satellite Bishops’ Storehouse in Maui, Hawaii.

Elder Mabellos said that the people of Hawaii tend to be close-knit and family-oriented.

“We’re trying to use what little we have and we’re trying to make the most of it,” he said.

His ward has widows and widowers who have seen membership grow from a small branch to over 400 participants in sacrament meeting. They’ve lived on Maui for decades, but as food costs have risen, they’ve had no choice but to ask for help.

“You can see their faces, and their faces are filled with gratitude,” Elder Mabellos said. “These are the kupunas – the grandparents – and you can see the spirit of service and charity working with these people who are really in need.”


Volunteers and missionaries pose at the grand opening of the Maui Satellite Bishops’ Storehouse at the Kahului Hawaii West Stake Center on September 22, 2022 in Kahului, Maui, Hawaii.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

| |
Back to top button