What All Mormons Should Know About Food Storage

Mormons Are Called to Store Food for Times of Adversity

Various jars with home canning Fruits and Vegetables jam on glass shelves

 zazamaza / Getty Images

For many years, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have counseled members to have a year's supply of food and other essentials. This recommendation raises many questions: What should you store? How can you afford to? Should you share with others during an emergency? Find out here.

Why Store Food?

According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), there are many reasons for having a food storage program. One source of this maxim is the command, "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing," ("Doctrine and Covenants", Section 109:8). By being prepared with a basic supply of food, water, and monetary savings, a family can survive short-term and long-term adversities while being a resource to others in their community.

Adversities that disrupt one's ability to access food and clean water can include natural and man-made disasters. Hurricanes, ice storms, earthquakes, riots, and acts of terrorism are just a few examples of situations that can deplete supplies or result in being unable to leave your home. Secular disaster preparedness sources also recommend keeping at least a 72-hour supply of food and drinking water for such often unpredictable crises.

Food Storage Levels

Beyond common disaster preparedness, it is wise to also build more in-depth emergency food storage programs. Ideally, you should have three levels of food storage: a 72-hour supply of food and drinking water; a three-month supply of food; and a longer-term supply of items, such as wheat, white rice, and beans, that can be stored for years.

To know how much stock you will need for each level, calculate your household's food storage needs. This will vary by factors such as how many people are in your household, family member ages, etc.

What to Store

For 72-hour and three-month storage, focus on shelf-stable foods that your family would normally consume. You want to be able to rotate your stored foods so they do not go bad and use them as part of your normal life as they near expiration. You will only be able to store a few days' worth of water at a time, so you will want to have containers handy that can be refilled from a community supply in an emergency situation. You should also consider having water purification chemicals and equipment in the event that clean water is not available.

How to Pay for Food Storage

When planning food storage, you may want to know how you'll afford all of the necessary supplies and storage space. The publication "All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage" says it is not prudent to go to extremes and incur debt to set up your store. Instead, it is better to build it steadily over time. You should store only as much as your circumstances allow.

The pamphlet suggests buying a few extra items each week. You will quickly build a one-week supply of food this way. By steadily continuing to purchase a little extra, you can build up to a three-month supply of non-perishable food without putting unnecessary stress on your budget. And as you build your supply, be sure to rotate it, consuming the oldest items before they are outdated so that nothing goes to waste.

Similarly, you should build your financial reserve by saving a little money each week. If that is difficult, look for ways to save money by cutting expenses and luxuries until you have saved your reserve.

Should You Share Your Food Storage?

Some wonder whether they should share their food storage in times of need with those who have not saved. LDS leaders say there is no question that you should share—the faithful will welcome this opportunity to assist others in need.

Sources

  • "All Is Safely Gathered In." The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. Intellectual Reserve, 2007.
  • Smith, Joseph. Doctrine and Covenants. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, 1835.