Mormons have a reputation for a number of things, but one of the big ones is food storage. Perhaps you've heard--the year's supply? Here is the full truth--lots of mormons don't do it. BUT, we are asked to, and yes, a lot of us do do it. Today I thought I'd take a few minutes to share some thoughts about why we do it, and something about how we do it (in other words, how you can do it too, if you'd like). I'm thinking I'll write further on this topic, so pepper me with questions, I love talking about this stuff. ☺
Imagine for a minute, that as of tomorrow you are unemployed. Or, imagine that there is a terrible storm and all roads are closed for a few days--just a few days--but enough that there will not be anything in the grocery stores for a week. What if you lose electricity for 24 hours? in the middle of winter? What if a water main in town breaks and you are without running water for a day? Or several? What if the credit card company reduces your credit limit? How about if your tire blows out or your spouse breaks his (her) leg and your grocery budget for this month is shot on paying the bills?
Preparedness--including food storage--is not about waiting for 'emergencies' so much as it is about establishing a system whereby you always have a buffer and a backup; a system whereby you need not ever fear.
Twice in my youth my dad was unemployed or changed jobs and my mother found herself without a grocery budget. I didn't realize that until I was much older though, because nothing really seemed to change...we went on eating food from the pantry as we had always done. It was getting depleted more than usual, but we were not eating 'survival rations' or anything like that. Our storage allowed us to go on living normally in spite of financial setbacks.
When we lived in Pelican, it was common during winter months to go for a week without anyone being able to get in or out of town. The planes were supposed to come several times a week, but in winter they were not reliable. Each winter that we were there, there was at least one three-week stretch with no planes/ferries. Three weeks. No mail, no groceries, as often as not the phone and/or internet would go out for a few days too (gotta love winter in the bush!) Of course, all of this was not a big deal, as I rarely relied on the planes, and my groceries still came reliably on the ferry once a month. Actually, due to the cost of transport, I tried to order groceries only every other month. When friends from other states heard how we lived they almost always responded with "wow, you must plan ahead a lot" or "I could never do that." I was always a bit befuddled by their comments, because the truth was that I didn't learn to do that while living in Pelican--I learned to do that by having been raised to do it.
♥ Preparing every needful thing is not a matter of hoarding food. It is a matter of considering what you use all the time, and then stocking up a bit: food, toiletries, clothes, etc. When something goes on sale, get extra. When something is a better price in bulk, then buy in bulk. When coats go on sale in the spring, buy them a size up for your kids for the next winter. Plan ahead, store ahead, never fear.
♥ Preparing every needful thing means examining yourself and your lifestyle, and determining what is NEEDFUL and what is merely wanted. For example, we have flashlights, batteries, and kerosene lanterns for power outages. We do not have a generator. We have a lot of foods. We do not have cute matching labeled containers for it all.
♥ Preparing every needful thing also means preparing ourselves. No amount of stored flour is going to do you any good if you don't know how to make bread with it. No amount of stored wheat will help if you can't grind it! Seeds will not help if you cannot raise a garden. Knitting needles and yarn are no good if you don't know how to use them. An entire hospital supply room is useless if you don't know any first aid. We should know how to grow, prepare, and preserve food. We should learn how to maintain our clothing and vehicles. We must learn to budget, to save, and to take care of what we have.
Here are a couple more links on the subject:
"Prepare Every Needful Thing" sermon by Bishop Victor L Brown (1980)
"Prepare Every Needful Thing" (a collection of quotes) (2003)