Building a food supply
For more information about building an emergency food supply for your family, visit www.lds.org and click on the "Family Well-Being" link on the main menu page. If you are interested in visiting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ cannery in Tucker, contact George Wangemann at 770-534-5861.
When it comes to disaster preparedness, most people turn to the American Red Cross, not their church.
That is, unless they happen to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
In addition to helping members focus on their spiritual development, the LDS church leaders also encourage followers to take some time to prepare for emergencies.
"For as long as I have been a member, that has always been a strong message from the very top on down," said George Wangemann, a missionary and public affairs officer for the Gainesville Ward of the Latter-Day Saints church.
"The idea is to prepare for contingencies and eventualities."
Those eventualities can be anything from unexpected unemployment to natural disasters.
"There is a scripture that we use in the church that says, ‘If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear,’" Wangemann said.
Ultimately, the uppermost church leaders would like to see members build a one-year supply of food, clothing and fuel, Wangemann says. The more immediate goal is for every family to have at least a three-month supply of food.
According to the Latter-Day Saints church website, "Our heavenly father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors."
Church leaders warn against hysterically buying out grocery stores or going into debt to build your family’s supply.
"We’re directed to build our stock in an orderly manner," Wangemann said. "We don’t want to go into panic mode. The methodology behind it is to do it as we have time and the resources."
It is suggested that you add a few items to your regular shopping trips until you have accumulated a one-week supply. Then you can build from there.
One less expensive way to build up a supply of food is to can your own. According to Wangemann, there’s a Latter-Day Saints cannery in Tucker where visitors can do just that.
While you’re stocking up, be sure to make sure there are ample supplies for each member of your family. Your stored wares should include nonperishable and nutritious foods.
"You need to store things that will sustain life," Wangemann said.
"That should probably include some vitamin supplements. Although you are putting away food, you may not have items that will provide you with all of the nutrients that you need."
Don’t forget to include plenty of water, both for drinking and taking care of other daily functions. Powdered milk, whole grains and canned goods are also good choices due to their extended shelf life.
"You should store what you eat and eat what you store," Wangemann said.
"You should eat out of your supply, so that you can regularly rotate the food. That way, if there comes a time that you need to use it in an emergency, you don’t have to second guess if it is OK to eat."
Although it isn’t talked about often in other churches, the concept of storing food for emergencies isn’t limited to Mormonism or the Latter-Day Saints church. In Genesis 41, Joseph predicts a seven-year famine. He tells the Egyptian Pharaoh of the future emergency and urges the ruler to set aside a supply of food over the next seven years.
Because of Joseph’s vision — and stored food — there were ample supplies when the famine did come.
"You can take care of a lot of folks by listening to the prophet of God," Wangemann said.
"You never know when these eventualities will come."