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Long-term food storage, however, is just one of four directives found in "All is Safely Gathered In," a pamphlet distributed throughout the church last year that outlines the "basics of family home storage." The counsel includes building a three-month supply of "food that is part of your normal, daily diet," storing drinking water and developing a financial reserve in addition to a longer-term supply of food.
Using the home storage center is helpful in meeting one of those directives for those who live in proximity to a facility, but all four must be balanced, Nield said (Kevin Nield, director of bishop's storehouse services for the welfare department of the LDS Church). Long-term storage is also less applicable in areas of the world where such endeavors might not be possible.
"People have more opportunities now than ever before to use the church as a place to help get some reserves, but these kinds of reserves, the three-month (supply) or the water or the money, they don't come from a home storage center," Nield said. "And that's the more immediately accessible element and that's the more worldwide church element.
"Following the guidelines of the First Presidency is about "the spirit of preparation" and the "idea of being strong and self-reliant," Nield said. It's not about fear.
"All is Safely Gathered In" discourages church members from going "to extremes" and incurring debt to establish a food storage. "With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply," it reads.
I have a friend who is a manager at a large local grocery store. He said that anytime food storage or signs-of-the-times are mentioned in general conference, there is always a run on food storage products. Individuals will go "to extremes" and fill several carts and put thousands of dollars on their credit cards.
Like Kevin Nield says above, home storage is about preparation and being self-reliant. Fear can drive you to make large, expensive one-time home storage purchases. But when you really understand the purposes of home storage, you're more likely to make gathering your supply and consequently becoming "strong and self-reliant" an ongoing effort.