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Food Storage

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Mormons are encouraged to store a one-year supply of food. Intellectual Reserve © 2008

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long been encouraged to have a year's supply of food and other needed items. President Ezra Taft Benson said,

You do not need to go into debt … to obtain a year's supply. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. Save a little for storage each paycheck. Can or bottle fruit and vegetables from your gardens and orchards. Learn how to preserve food through drying and possibly freezing. Make your storage a part of your budget. Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job. If you are saving and planning for a second car or a TV set or some item, which merely adds to your comfort or pleasure, you may need to change your priorities. We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now (“Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32).

Many outside the Church may find this practice a bit odd, or it may seem as if members are a little paranoid, but members are reminded:

The counsel to have a year's supply of food, clothing, and other necessary items is wise counsel for several reasons. A disaster such as a flood, an earthquake, or a snowstorm could hit a city or an entire region, cutting off roads and making it impossible for food and other items to be transported to the markets. Political unrest or strikes by truckers, shippers, or rail workers could interfere with the transport of foods. Other types of disasters, such as famine resulting from drought, hurricanes, floods, and even wars, have occurred in many countries and could occur again. When such disasters affect the entire community, food and other supplies often cannot be obtained, even if money is available. A family can also experience an emergency in the form of illness or unemployment that results in a lack of income, making it necessary to rely on home storage" (The Latter-day Saint Woman, 25:214).

How are members supposed to start their food storage? Church leaders suggest beginning with the basic needs. For one adult for one year it is suggested that there be 400 pounds of grains, 60 pounds of legumes, 16 pounds of powdered milk, 10 quarts of cooking oil, 60 pounds of sugar or honey, 8 pounds salt and fourteen gallons of water (this amount of water will only last two weeks). While these basics are a good start, experts also suggest storing other items, specifically the items that your family will eat, since you are supposed to use what you store. For example, if a family has a small baby, or the mother is pregnant, it would also be wise to include baby food and baby formula.

The Church provides facilities such as canneries and dry and wet pack canning options to people wanting to build up their food storage. The items are always offered at cost. For more about food storage visit Provident Living, the Church's site to help members and anyone else achieve self-reliance [1].

Suggested storage methods and programs forwarded by wards and stakes include building up a year's supply of subsistence and emergency foods, as listed above, while creating a three-month's supply of consistently-used foods, including family favorites. The three-month supply would include canned soups, boxed cereals, and other grocery store items. Another program involves creating a 72-hour emergency kit for each member of the family, including copies of records, cash, food, first aid, emergency radio, reading material, a change of clothing, etc. These kits are usually compiled into backpacks in sizes related to the carrying abilities of family members. Extra items can be stored in a plastic tub or trash can. These kits are meant for flight or evacuation. For advice on creating a 72-hour kit, click here.

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