As part of an effort by the Church to help members "prepare for adversity," Latter-day Saints can now buy dry-pack food storage that is already packaged.
The family home storage starter kit may be used to teach family home storage principles and help individuals get started with longer-term food storage. The kit includes materials that teach the importance of a three-month food supply, water storage and savings, and six cans of longer-term food supply items.
The new kit is part of a continuing initiative, started in March 2007, that is aimed to simplify and globalize Church members' approach to food storage. A pamphlet, distributed in every unit of the Church, encourages Church members to gradually build a three-month supply of food they typically use and eat, store drinking water, build a financial reserve, and then over time and where permitted gather a longer-term supply of staples, such as wheat, rice, beans and oats — all food that is available in the starter kit.
"This is not an event," said Jeff Newey, manager of training and evaluation for Bishops Storehouse Services. "It is a process."
The important thing is "to get word out to members encouraging them to prepare for adversity," he said.
Brother Newey said that in the past there was a lot of information coming to members of the Church from so many sources that "simple obedience to a principle perhaps was lost," he said. "Many people may have become confused, discouraged and didn't do anything."
Now, he said, the Church has "simplified the message, to make it a positive message of hope."
In addition, he noted that with the globalization of the Church, there are members who found themselves in circumstances where traditional food storage was not possible.
"We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings," said a message from the First Presidency in the pamphlet. "We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.
"We realize that some of you may not have financial resources or space for such storage. Some of you may be prohibited by law from storing large amounts of food. We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow."
The pamphlet was translated into 24 languages — allowing it to reach 95 percent of the worldwide Church population. The Church's Europe East Area translated the information into an additional nine languages. The pamphlet was distributed by individual Church units and included in the August edition of the Ensign and Liahona magazines.
The pamphlet was so popular that the English edition stocked out in less than a month at Church Distribution Centers near Salt Lake City, Utah. "There was a great demand for people to get this word," said Brother Newey.
The pamphlet and the initiative — which now includes a simpler way to purchase food storage items — are aimed to teach principles that members can apply to their individual circumstances, he added. "The Church does not desire to prescribe specifics," he said.
In the past, Church members could purchase traditional food storage — such as dry packed wheat — at home storage centers, where individual wards had to schedule a time for members to pack the food themselves. Now, in addition to that service, the Church is making available food that has been packaged on an assembly line by Church employees. The food, provided at the Church's cost, is just a little more expensive than food the members pack themselves. For an additional cost, it can be shipped in the United States directly to members' homes — a huge benefit for Church members who do not live near a home storage center. For more information about the service go to ldscatalog.com.
The starter kits, which include two #10 cans of hard red winter wheat, two #10 cans of rice, one can of beans, and one can of oats, are available on the site now. Starting March 22, individual pre-packaged cases of six cans of wheat, rice, beans, and oats will also be available.
Brother Newey hopes the new services will help members catch the vision of preparing for a time of need. "If you haven't got started, get started," he said. "If you have already been doing it, be diligent and keep going."
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