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

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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. What should you store? How can you afford to? Should you share with others during an emergency?

Why Food Storage?

Why should you have food storage and be prepared for emergencies? Here are a few of the main reasons why we should have a food storage program. One source of this maxim is the command to "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 and be a resource to help others in their community.

Adversities can include natural and man-made disasters that disrupt the ability to access food and clean water. A hurricane, ice storm, earthquake, riot, or act of terrorism can result in being unable to leave your home. Secular disaster preparedness recommendations follow those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in that you should have at least a 72-hour supply of food and drinking water for such often-unpredictable crises. But beyond such common disasters needs, it is wise to build a 3-month and long-term food storage.

What to Store in a Food Storage

If having food storage is so important what should you store? You should have three levels of food storage. A 72-hour supply of food and drinking water is the first level. A 3-month supply of food is the second level. The third level is a longer-term supply of items such as wheat, white rice, and beans that can be stored for years.

You will need to calculate your food storage needs. This will vary by how many people are in your household, their ages, and other factors. For 72-hour and 3-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 consume them as part of your normal life. For water storage, you will only be able to store a few days' supply, but you will want to have containers handy that can be refilled from a community supply during a disaster or other time of need. You should consider having water purification chemicals and equipment for longer-term needs.

How to Afford Food Storage

When planning food storage you may wonder where you will get the money to purchase the 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 storage. Instead, it is better to build it steadily over time. You should store 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. By steadily continuing to purchase a little extra, you can build up to a three-month supply of non-perishable food. As you build your supply, be sure to rotate it, consuming the oldest items before they are outdated.

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?

Sometimes you may wonder if you should share your food storage in times of need with those who have not saved. LDS leaders say it is not a question of whether you should share. The faithful will welcome this opportunity to assist others in need.