Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Food Storage Talk

Photo c/o Preparedness Pro

One of my responsibilities is to help my church congregation become prepared for adversity. Thus, when our local leadership determines that we need to hear about food storage, emergency preparedness, spiritual preparedness, etc., I am often invited to speak. I recently had the assignment to speak about food storage and thought I'd share my talk with you. Unfortunately, I'm a bit of an ad-libber and don't remember everything that I said, but here is the gist of it:

If the Savior came to visit you and said he had some counsel for you which would give you peace, would you listen and obey his counsel?

The Lord has said, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”

This scripture refers to the Lord's servants, also known as prophets. Our living prophet is the Lord’s mouthpiece today and when he speaks, he is speaking the words of our Savior. If the Savior stood before us and shared a message, we would heed his counsel. Likewise, we should heed our prophet’s counsel. I love the primary song, “Keep the commandments,” particularly the line “Words of a prophet, keep the commandments. In this there is safety and peace.”

Our prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson, as a member of the first presidency, recently released a pamphlet outlining a preparedness plan for members of the church. It states: "We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. "We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve." —The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, Feb. 2007.

President Monson also said, "Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free."

As I reflect upon the current economic crisis we are experiencing, I have been reminded of the words of our prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, which he shared at General Conference in October 2001, soon after the September 11th terrorist attacks:

"Occasions of this kind pull us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary. When I was a young man, my father counseled me to build a modest home, sufficient for the needs of my family, and make it beautiful and attractive and pleasant and secure. He counseled me to pay off the mortgage as quickly as I could so that, come what may, there would be a roof over the heads of my wife and children. I was reared on that kind of doctrine. I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day.

"We cannot provide against every contingency. But we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do.

"As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son."

Later in that same talk, he stated: "I cannot forget the great lesson of Pharaoh's dream of the fat and lean kine and of the full and withered stalks of corn." He was referring to Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream in Genesis. Joseph, after hearing Pharaoh's dream, told Pharaoh that that there would be 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine. I find the timing of Pres. Hinckley's talk interesting. Seven prosperous years after President Hinckley gave this talk, suddenly banks began to fail, major brokerages went belly-up, the stock market dived and businesses closed shop.

The other day, I was listening to a radio program where a well-known financial commentator was talking about the current financial crisis with a burst housing bubble, imprudent loans, major banks failing and an astronomical drop in stock prices creating a ripple effect that has led to a credit crunch and great losses in employment. One thing struck me. . .he said, “No one knew what was coming. No one could have ever anticipated what would happen.” But our prophet knew and we were warned well in advance to prepare by staying out of debt, buying a modest home, setting money aside for a rainy day, and storing food and water. We were promised peace if we did so.

I am used to giving talks on all aspects of preparedness, so when I was asked to talk only about food storage, I asked my daughter, "How can I talk about food storage for so long?" We started laughing and jokingly said, "You get your coat on, you get out your keys. Walk to the car, drive to the store, buy an extra couple of cans of food each week and over time, you build your food storage." The church's food storage program as it currently stands is really that simple. You begin by creating a three month supply:

Three Month Supply

Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage. —The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, Feb. 2007.

This can be accomplished by making a menu of food that your family likes to eat for a month (don’t forget to include breakfast, lunch and dinner). Make a shopping list based on that menu, making sure you inventory your fridge, freezer, pantry and food storage and mark off the things you already have. As you go to the grocery store, pick up extra items from that list and if you go to Sam’s, BJ's or Costco, buy things off of that list. Even if you only spend a few extra dollars a week, over time, you will accumulate your storage.

Supplement that with long-term food storage items you eat like rice, oats, wheat, beans—things that last for twenty or thirty years. These items are fairly inexpensive. I was thinking about the #10 can of rice that I have in the pantry. Buying rice from the church’s home storage center costs about $16.00 for 25 lbs. From that I’ll get approximately 5 #10 cans which probably will last our family for six months. Add to it things like pasta and beans and you’d be surprised how little money it takes to get a three month supply. It costs us less to buy that 25 lb. bag of rice than it does to take our family one time to McDonalds for dinner. It lasts a long time and I use it often.

Where can you find the extra money? Try packing lunch every day to work and school. At my husband’s work cafeteria, his lunch costs an average of $5-$8 a day. Even on the low end we could save $20 a week. What if you are stretched to the limit? Watch the sales—buy two cans when they’re on sale. Buying in bulk saves a lot of money but only buy what your family would eat. Try finding free entertainment for one week—go to the library, take a walk outside, enjoy local parks, play board games, swap movies with your friends and you can save a lot. It costs 20 dollars for us to go to a movie—forgo that and you have an entire bag of rice!

Drinking Water

Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda. Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight. —The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, Feb. 2007.

I keep water under my sink in used, clean 2L bottles and juice bottles. We don't drink much soda but I save the bottles when I have parties at our house. When we had a boil water advisory in our town for three days, water bottles flew off the grocery store shelves in a flash and they even cancelled school. But I had no concerns whatsoever. We had plenty of clean water right in our kitchen and lots more in the basement.

Do you have enough water? Do you have the minimum recommended amounts of drinkable water? Remember. . . this is not for cooking, washing clothes, showering, cleaning or flushing toilets--just drinking and very minimal hygiene like hand washing and teeth brushing.

For a couple you’d need 28 gallons
Family of 4 = 56 gallons (think 55 gallon barrel)
Family of 5 = 70 gallons
Family of 6 = 84 gallons
Family of 7 = 98 gallons
Family of 8 = 112 gallons
Family of 9 = 126 gallons
Family of 10 = 140 Gallons (you might find grown children coming back to roost in an emergency)

Longer-Term Supply

For longer term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay live, such as wheat, white rice, and beans.These items can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place. A portion of these items may be rotated in your three-month supply. —The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, Feb. 2007.

People say “I’m not going to buy wheat. My family won’t eat wheat bread. I don’t have a grinder, etc. " I would suggest that you get wheat. It’s about $13 for 25 lbs. That will make almost 25 loaves of bread. We can share grinders if it is required. People will be much more likely to let you grind wheat with their grinder than to share the precious food that will keep their family from starvation.

You can also save a lot of money by producing food in your own gardens.

After WWII, Pres. Ezra Taft Benson was called by the 1st Presidency to re-establish missions and set up a program for the distribution of food and clothing to the saints. Vivid in his memory were the people who got on trains each morning with all kinds of bric-a-brac in their arms to go out to the countryside and trade their possessions for food. At evening time, the train station was filled with people with arms full of vegetables and fruits and squealing pigs and chickens. . .These people were, of course, willing to barter practically anything for that commodity which sustains life—food.

“I have witnessed the appalling, emaciated shadows of human figures. I have seen women and children scavenge army garbage dumps for scraps of food. Nor can I forget the expectant and nursing mothers whose eyes watered with tears when we gave them each an orange. We saw the terrible physical and social side effects of hunger and malnutrition. . . Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints , are deceived And will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.”

Remember, peace in adversity—whether it be the job loss, underemployment, health problems, sudden death, or financial challenges comes by following the prophet. In this, there is safety, in this, there is peace. The Savior promised:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:26–27).

"Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.

"Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

"Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." (D&C 6:34, 36)

Today, I urge you to follow our prophet’s counsel, follow the Savior and if you do so, you will feel the peace that only the Savior can give us:
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." - Helaman 5:12

Share Testimony of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, restoration, living prophet, inspired food storage program.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Dede said...

That is fantastic! Your ward is lucky to have you. Your food storage is BEAUTIFUL, and the shelves are so full!!:-)

Meditating Mother said...

Thank you for sharing. And I am jealous of your space for storing food! I loved your talk because I talk to SO MANY people that don't understand the new program and stress over getting a year's worth of food for everything! It is so simple now. I love it!

NessaB said...

Where can I store all of my water? I've started buying 3 liter Arrowhead water and I plan on starting to fill up my juice containers, but I have to store 56 gallons. I started putting water under my bed, but I'm not sure I have enough space for all of that water!


Anonymous said...

What a great compilation of counsel from our church leaders about the wisdom behind food storage. I'm sure your message was very well received. Have you read Prophetic Statements on Food Storage for Latter-Day Saints? It's an excellent book I'm reading right now. It's all laid out for us. I like what you said about the three month food supply being things that we eat on a regular basis. How important it is so store what you eat and eat what you store. How much better off will families be when they do this. http://tinyurl.com/cf3hsn

Maggie said...


Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball



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