Thursday, March 10, 2011

What does Food Storage have to do with it?

General Conference is coming up soon! I will admit that I get excited not just for the "right" answer of hearing our church leaders speak but also because it is one of the two times each year that we (or I, depending on my husband's enthusiasm) go over our emergency preparedness plans. General Conference season (it's now a season) is a perfect time to take stock of your emergency stockpiles and 72-hour kits. Switch out those expiring snacks from your kits and inventory your food storage!

What does food storage and emergency preparedness have to do with financial peace? Money is food in pre-edible form. Food is money in edible form. Money only has value because we give it value by using it to trade for what we need, things like food and other commodities. In times of scarcity, food is more valuable than paper or metal money. It makes sense to include emergency stockpiles of food and needful items as part of a good financial plan.

Food storage, like an emergency fund, buys you time to figure out a new game plan when the old plan has been changed. Consider different scenarios in which you will appreciate having put these safety nets in place.
  • Even if there is no money available, you can still eat. Little is harder than trying to keep up hope while running on hunger pangs.
  • Having what you need on hand saves on gasoline, time, and auto wear-and-tear from going to the store any time there is a little money to purchase essentials.
  • When finances become tight or nonexistent, you are not forced to buy foods and needs at whatever price the stores have set at the time. You have the luxury to wait for foods or household items to go on sale or for you to figure out a cheaper way to acquire them.
  • When illness hits, you are not forced to head out to the stores. Who wants to go to the store at 11 o'clock at night to get soup and Children's Tylenol?? (This is a good place to mention that, before each winter, I create a little "illness aid" stockpile composed of throat drops, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, electrolyte drinks, vitamin supplements, soups, and tissue to get us through the coming year.)
  • Having a bit of money and food stashed away provides peace and creates a feeling of abundance. Like attracts like. Create these feelings for you now to grow more of the feelings you DO want.

According to our Church leaders, a family or individual must first assess their needs and expenses and tend to them to the best of their ability. Second, if their own resources and abilities fall short, they then turn to their own families and extended families for assistance. Third, if that help is unavailable or is not sufficient to cover needs, then the family or individual turns to their ward bishop or branch president for guidance.

Latter-day Saints are blessed to have a fantastic welfare program in our church, but we should not assume it will always be available as a back-up. In the last two years, my ward found their funds were stretched when many families found themselves in the wake of layoffs. We must, as faithful Latter-day Saints, make family and personal preparedness a priority when income is present, no matter how little.

When I was a young bride, I decided to obey this counsel. I found a space in a coat closet and put in it one jug of water and one packet of spaghetti. That is all our budget could make room for at the time. My husband at the time joked about my little stash: "If the world goes to pot, at least we'll have water and spaghetti!" I was ecstatic when I later added another packet of spaghetti and a jar of pasta sauce!

From my experiences building up a food stockpile, I gained a testimony that the size of your stock does not matter as much as your willingness to obey commandments. If you are willing to obey in small things, you will be trusted with bigger things (Matthew 25:23). Imagine my delight (and my husband's surprise) when three years later we found our food stockpile took up an entire wall of a little bedroom!

By small means are big things accomplished. If we have the faith (and accompanying action) of a mustard seed, we will be blessed greatly.

If you apply your faith and obey the commandment to be wise with your talents, no matter how great or small you deem them, you will in short time create a stockpile that, along with your emergency fund, can carry you through several months of famine.

“We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. … I have faith … that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments.”

(Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, Nov. 2005, 62.)


  1. This was my favorite line "I gained a testimony that the size of your stock does not matter as much as your willingness to obey commandments."

    I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the thought that I can't possibly store 3 months (or a year) of food storage in my small apartment where we don't even have enough room for all the things we use all the time. But I realized that I AM willing to do SOMETHING. And that has included a major water storage. I have probably 50+ 2-liter bottles of water under my bed and now in closets throughout the apartment. I also put together a in my closet box with random foods that I want to "forget about" so I don't use it unless we have an "emergency." I like the comfort of knowing it's there.

    I also have a lot of foods on the shelf, a "well stocked pantry," if you will. I've really been trying to go to the store less so we don't add impulse buys to our expenditure.

  2. One thing that has helped me get "serious" about food storage for a family of 7 on a budget is planning out 16 meals my kids will eat that are primarily food storage friendly (spaghetti, taco salad, tuna pasta, chili, etc) and then make sure I have enough of those meals 6 times.

    It may sound complicated, but when, say, spaghetti sauce is on sale, I buy six jars. . . when chili is on sale, I buy 12 cans (we eat 2 for every meal). The long lists of items I needed, where to keep them (in my car? purse? at home?) and checklists were too much to keep track of, and this system seems to help.

    Then, every Conference weekend, I reevaluate what I've used/what I need, to keep up that 3 month supply.

  3. 72-hour kits. I guess I need two more of those now so that in the event of an emergency, I don't have to decide which two kids to leave home! D'oh. Food storage is good, my kits are lacking. Thanks for the reminder!