Saturday, March 14, 2015

Prioritizing where to start with preparedness, and what to do next



What has God said about this? 

Before 2007 the repeated counsel of LDS Church leaders was this:
        "Church members can begin their home storage by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat. Depending on where members live, those basics might include water, wheat or other grains, legumes, salt, honey or sugar, powdered milk, and cooking oil. When members have stored enough of these essentials to meet the needs of their family for one year, they may decide to add other items that they are accustomed to using day to day ... Families who do not have the resources to acquire a year’s supply can begin their storage by obtaining supplies to last for a few months...Through careful planning, most Church members can, over time, establish both a financial reserve and a year’s supply of essentials” (First Presidency Letter, January 20, 2002). 

     The LDS Church leaders even gave recommended amounts of these basic foods. People still use a cool food storage calculator based on those amounts.


1.Water  - 14 gallons per person to last 2 weeks
2.Wheat or other grains – 400 pounds
3.Legumes (like lentils or pinto beans) – 60 pounds
4.Salt – 8 pounds
5.Honey or sugar – 60 pounds
6.Powdered milk – 16 pounds
7.Cooking oil – 10 pounds


     Then in 2007 the LDS Church published this brochure with new guidelines, which replaced the old guidelines. 


The brochure lists these four priorities:

1. 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.
2. 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. 
3. FINANCIAL RESERVE 
        Establish a financial reserve by saving a little money each week and gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount (see All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances guide). 
4. 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 alive, 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. (All Is Safely Gathered In: Food Storage)
                                                                         
     Only several months ago, our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, gave a preparedness message in the September 2014 Ensign magazine:

       “Every family in the Church … have a supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, other necessities of life. … 

       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. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have a supply of debt and are food-free.

       I repeat what the First Presidency declared a few years ago: 'Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having a little money set aside. Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being. Every family has a responsibility to provide for its own needs to the extent possible.
       We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.' (The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances (pamphlet, 2007).
        Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have our reserve supply on hand? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord? We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties.
        When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past." ("Are We Prepared?" Ensign, September 2014). 


So where is the best place to start with food storage? 

     On your knees! Take the list of priorities from the LDS Church leaders and ask where the Lord wants your family to start. 

1. Three-month supply of everyday foods
2. Water 
3. Financial reserve
4. Longer-term supply (interesting to note that it no longer says "year supply"*)
5. Clothing
6. Other necessities of life (could include a tent, methods to cook and heat and light without power, clothing to stay warm if you had to leave your home in winter) 
7. Paying off debt 
8. Other things like skills, living providently, obedient to commandments, responsive to prophets’ teachings, give to needy, be square with the Lord  

*Just for the record, I still love and use the counsel from past prophets about the list of basic survival foods and the amounts they recommended. This is one guideline I use in calculating how much food I should have in each category for my family. I also use my food storage meal plan, so I know I have what foods I need for the meals my family likes. I like that we are invited to focus on a balanced list of eight priorities, not just a supply of longer-term food. 


     Here are quick links for the topics from my presentation "Eight Tips for Organizing Your Food Storage":

  1. Overcoming excuses with the word of God.
  2. Create a simple meal plan to build and rotate your year supply. 
  3. Finding more storage space in your home. 
  4. Finding more money for food storage and preparedness gear. 
  5. A master inventory of what you have, what you need/want, and where it is stored. 
  6. Prioritizing where to start, and what to do next. 
  7. Seven Ideas to organize your food storage. 
  8. Why I believe spiritual preparedness matters most. 

     Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts about the best places to start with preparedness. 


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