More for Preparedness/Home Storage Specialists

Those of you who are also serving as Home-Storage or Preparedness Specialists might be interested in a document that we created for training the ward specialists. Instead of linking to a pdf, I'll just give you the text:

Ward Food Storage Specialists

Main Objective:
Teach and assist families to become self-reliant in home storage.

Current Focus: Make a renewed effort at the ward level to help every family gather a three-month supply.

"President Hinckley clearly recognized that change and adaptation are needed so that all of us might benefit from the Lord’s inspired program." (Evelyn Jeffries, Family Home Storage, A New Message, Ensign, March 2009)  

"This new approach asks us to do the best we can, even if all we can do is to set aside a can or two each week. If the prophet asks us to do something, we can find a way to fulfill the commandment and receive the blessings." (Dennis Lifferth, managing director of Church Welfare Services)  

"This new program is within everyone’s grasp. The first step is to BEGIN. The second is to CONTINUE. It doesn’t matter how fast we get there so much as that we begin and continue according to our abilities." (Bishop H. David Burton)

Some possible tools that can help you accomplish this within your wards:

1. Work with your Bishopric. Seek and follow their direction.

2. Reach out specifically to the 80% of your ward that have NO storage.

3. Simplify. Make things as simple, understandable, and accessible as possible.

4. Emphasize storing foods that are already a part of each family’s "normal, daily diet" (Safely Gathered In)

5. Gain personal experience by making a plan for your own family to gather your three-month supply.

6. Meet with individuals or small groups in your ward (those who don’t already have a three-month supply) and assist them in developing a personal plan for gathering a three-month supply. The Three-Month Supply worksheet can be used as a tool to develop plans.

7. Have blank copies of the worksheet available so that families can make additional copies for future use if desired.

8. Enlist the help of Visiting Teachers and/or Home Teachers when working with inactive members. They might be able to take the message and worksheet to these families with greater success.

9. Remind and encourage each member to gather a one-week supply. Then encourage them to expand their storage to three-months as soon as they are able.

10. Use announcements in ward bulletins, ward newsletters, and in ward auxiliaries to inspire, remind, and motivate.

11. Be a broken record in reminding members about the importance of getting a three-month supply.


Many Ways to Approach a Three-Month Supply

“The first step is to begin.
The second is to continue.
It doesn’t matter how fast we get there so much as that we begin and continue according to our abilities.”

Obviously there isn't just one way to plan a three-month supply. Here are several different methods. Choose the method that works best for you (or make up your own) and begin!

Use a three-month calendar. Plan three months at one time.
Use a one-month calendar. Repeat three times.
Use the one-week worksheet, but use it to create two different menus. Alternate.
Purchase one extra meal or one day's menu each week when you go shopping.
Buy double of everything when you go shopping.

Here are some planning forms that might help you:
*Gathering Your Three-Month Supply (one week at a time worksheet) - by iPrepared
*3 Month Food Supply Excel Worksheet - by Food Storage Made Easy
*3 month food supply plan with printable forms - also by Food Storage Made Easy

How have you planned for a three-month supply?


We Can Begin With a One Week's Food Supply

We can begin ever so modestly.
We can begin with a one week's food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months.

There was some confusion as we introduced the Three-Month Supply worksheet at a Relief Society Meeting this week. Some thought we were teaching the need for a one-week supply and abandoning the idea of a three-month supply. We had to clarify that this worksheet is just the first step to gathering a three-month supply. This quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley has been the inspiration for the development of our plan.


Three-Month Supply Worksheet

[If the link above doesn't work, go here and click on the worksheet graphic which will give you a picture file.]

This worksheet will help you make a plan for gathering one week's worth of food for your family. A step-by-step list of instructions is included on the worksheet. In a nutshell, make a menu plan for one week and determine which products you need to have on hand for those meals. Purchase a few extra items each time you go shopping. Pretty soon you'll have a one-week supply!
Once you've gathered one week's worth of meals, continue purchasing extra food. Repeat the worksheet four times for a one-month supply. Repeat 13 times for a full three-month supply. It's easier than you think!

[FAQs] Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know which meals to include?
As you plan your menu, it is important that include meals that are a part of YOUR "normal, daily diet"1 (including canned and commercially packaged foods).2 This isn't the time to include someone else's recipes or plans. These don't have to be "food-storage foods." Store what YOU eat.

What if I have more meals that I want to include in my three-month plan?
Make several copies of the worksheet. Label each week as Menu A, Menu B, etc as desired. You can repeat your one-week plan thirteen times to achieve a three-month supply or you can create a variety of menus and repeat in order to have 13 weeks total.

What types of meals are easier to store?
It's almost easier to talk about which foods don't store easily. Most fresh fruits and vegetables perish quickly. Maybe you often have grapefruit for breakfast. Because grapefruit only lasts for a month or so in ideal conditions (and can't really be frozen, dehydrated, or bottled), this meal might not be a good candidate for three-month supply storage. (Regularly planting a garden is a good way to plan for fresh fruits and vegetables in your menu.) On the other hand, if you enjoy eating oatmeal for breakfast, the supplies necessary for preparing this meal can be stored for at least three months.

What about infants?
If your infant drinks formula, you'll want to include that in your plan.

Should my meals be easy to cook without electricity?
I have based this worksheet on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' directions for a three-month supply. They have not indicated a need to store foods that can be cooked without electricity. You have to decide what is best for your family. Just remember that the meals you store should already be a part of your "normal, daily diet."1

Can I plan to store things in my freezer?
There are foods that can be easily stored in your freezer and rotated into your three month supply. If you are concerned about not having electricity, see the question and answer above.

Should I include water?

Water is essential to survival. Water storage is one of the four major components found in the new recommendations for family home storage from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.1 Though it is not specifically included in this worksheet, it is important that your family also store water. Water can easily be stored in soda bottles that have been washed out and sanitized with a combination of a little bleach and water.

What about toiletries?
The main purpose of this worksheet is to help you store food that is a part of your normal, daily diet. If you feel like you would like to also store things such as toilet paper, toothpaste and shampoo for your family, that would be fantastic - but again, it is not the focus of this worksheet.

What if my diet is only fresh fruits and vegetables?

This question is the most difficult that I've had so far. If your normal, daily diet only includes fresh fruits and vegetables, then I would strongly suggest that you plant a garden. A garden would enable you to supplement those fruits and vegetables for much of the year (maybe even year round depending upon the climate). If you are open to dehydrated or home canned produce, you can store your own fresh fruits and vegetables year round.

In order to store a three-month supply, you may have to highly scrutinize your menu and look for any items that can be stored and rotated. It might be more difficult, but it isn't impossible. You might choose to store foods/meals that would be acceptable in tight circumstances. Then, plan to donate any stored items that you haven't used to the food banks in your area prior to expiration dates.

Sources:1 - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Safely Gathered In, Three-Month Supply. (Text; PDF; Multiple Languages)
2 - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Provident Living,

Copyright - 2010. You may make copies of the "Gathering Your Three-Month Supply" worksheet for your own personal use or for church use. If you link to this worksheet on your website or blog, please also include the link for this post on iPrepared and give appropriate credit. Link: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2010/06/three-month-supply-worksheet.html


Preparedness Outreach Ideas

In my last post, I asked for ideas from you about how to help single parents become prepared. I received this fantastic email from Jennifer. She has given me permission to share her ideas.

"I love this! As the parent of a baby, it was parenthood that made me get serious about “preparedness”. Sure, we always had some stuff around, but becoming a “Mama Bear” made me realize that I fiercely want to protect my Baby Bear, and make sure that he always had what he needed. Single Moms have so many more things working against them including lacking that partner. This would be my approach:

Map out a series of steps based on immediate needs for an emergency. Have a buying plan for an extra $10/week.

1.) Storing Water:
Have a soda bottle drive at your church. It doesn't cost a thing! Just by announcing the collection, you’ll have people thinking about their own water supply. You can’t make it more than ~ 3 days without water. This would be my first step because it’s free. For the next big holiday (4th of July?) ask members to buy their soda in plastic bottles for their party and bring them in when they’re done.

2.) 72-hour kit:
Make up a list and an approximate cost. Make the list in phases of “essential” (water, food, flashlight), “like to have” (extra shoes, toiletries, etc.). Perhaps a “drive” in the church for unused kids backpacks and bags? Have the kids make up a 72-hour kit in Sunday School. Moms might not accept charity for themselves, but they won’t say “no” to something that will benefit their children. I know I wouldn't. (Around here we have a chain of stores called “*****”. They often have “free with rebate” items, and backpacks are a big item. Other times they’re $0.99 with rebate.) Also the little “drawstring” backpacks are <$3 online. Combine it with Biblical stories – Joseph, the 10 virgins, Noah, etc. Fill it with what kids could reasonably fit and carry – 6 bottles of water, granola bars, fruit cups, pudding etc. It’s a start.

3.) Lifestyle Issues:
Getting out of debt, savings, living within your means, etc. Real resources and problem solvers for issues at home (eliminating cable, Netflix, etc.). Smartly using a credit card. Having a garage sale. Scoring great kids items at other garage sales. Free entertainment (think public library instead of the movies). Trading child-care services with other parents instead of paying a sitter. Advertise local resources - WIC, school programs, etc.

4.) Helping your moms get their 3-month-supply:
Compile Easy Recipes – Sure we’d all like to whip up a Martha Stewart meal every night, but busy moms need recipes that are tasty, easy and can eliminate the frozen convenience foods (pizza, etc.) “30-Minute-Meals” sound appealing, but a 10 minute prep then throw in the oven/crock pot is even better. 20 minutes not in the kitchen, is 20 more minutes with the kids. Also focus on one-pot meals for easy cleanup. From this list, compile a 2-3 week menu rotation that is diverse and nutritionally complete. Multiply by 4-6 for 12 weeks (3 months). Yes, I know about having wheat and grinders handy, but initially, this is a lot for a single mom to swallow. She doesn't have time to shower, so she’s not whipping up home made bread. Am I right?

My faves: Cheap Baked Beans - can of pork and beans, ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Heat on the stove. Serve with hotdogs bought on sale and frozen. :) Baked chicken breasts with Dijon mustard and crushed saltines on top. Pasta & Sauce (boil pasta, drain, then add sauce in same pot, and heat) Easy peasy

Create a recipe booklet with the ingredients in a standard format to inventory ingredients. Include substitutions or extras. Along-side, create a master ingredient list for the 3 months of meals. This could be a great thing to “sell” at church, allowing the proceeds to help fund other phases of your endeavor. Include a mini-sharpie with the cookbook and encourage people to write the purchase date on their canned goods if there is no exp.

Start a coupon exchange at church. Lots of people get the big Saturday/Sunday paper with coupons. Some people just throw out the coupons. Formula and diapers are a big one to save on. Moms have to have those.

5.) Maintaining emergency supplies, rotating stock, establishing a long-term storage:
eNewsletter with hints and tips – Amazon has diaper prices that are competitive with Babies R Us AND they ship for free. Timesaver! Remind your moms of what they can do with their $10 that week: 10 boxes of Mac N Cheese. 5 jars of pasta sauce. Discuss building an emergency car kit before winter cold or summer heat. $10 should cover new batteries for smoke and CO detectors each fall and spring – a wise investment. Talk about squirreling away $10 in the car for emergency gas, $10 away in the 72-hour kit. An extra $10 on the credit card bill. Discuss this Tylenol recall and the benefit of diversifying supply sources. (Our stores were out of generics, too!) I’m thinking about the peanut recall, too.

Move on to longer-term storage dehydrated vs. freeze dried. Educating your readers instead of giving instructions will help them to think about how they can attain these goals within their own situation. Don't forget to include your single moms in the giving back! They'll have kids clothes that are outgrown or toys that they no longer need. They can donate them too."

Thanks Jennifer for all of your fantastic ideas! I shared some of these ideas at a recent brainstorming meeting and our Stake is already talking about doing a soda-bottle donation drive.