Yes ma’am, we’re bringing back the Food Storage Item of the Week. Wherefore, you might ask. I wrote this for Segullah on Thursday and thought I might post it here to explain my thinking a little. It’s more of a spiritual nature since it has to do with my job at church. If you haven’t already, please read the post that follows this one.
“We need a real firecracker for this calling,” My bishop said as I sat across the desk from him. “You’d be perfect. We’d like to call you as Ward Preparedness Specialist.” Huh? Since when does Ward Preparedness Specialist requires firecrackerish skills? I could only guess that the Bishop thinks of preparedness differently than I do.
That was last year.
After about 385 days of having this calling I now understand; nobody wants to hear from the Food Storage Lady. (Except for people who already love food storage.) I feel like I’ve had to turn my monthly preparedness spiel into a vaudeville act to get people to listen.
Yes, I could be dour and pious and guilt people into preparedness with quotes like these:
“Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake … cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they will somehow be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. The Lord has warned and forewarned us against a day of great tribulation and given us counsel through His servants, on how we can be prepared for these difficult times. Have we heeded His counsel?” –Ezra Taft Benson (Gen. conf. 1980)
“Noah heeded God’s command to build an ark…that they might be saved from the floodwaters. Yet there was no evidence of rain and flood. His actions were considered irrational. The sun was shining and life moved forward as usual. But time ran out. The floods came, the disobedient were drowned. When God speaks and we obey, we will always be right.” –Thomas S. Monson (Ensign , Oct.2002)
Scaring people only seems to backfire, though. It’s overwhelming and most ward members would rather rationalize that somehow they’ll be OK. When afraid, many people stick their heads in the sand and try not worry about anything. Especially not amassing food and sticking to a budget.
I’ve used threats over the past year. I very pointedly told everyone in Relief Society that I will not be sharing my food storage. Especially with them, the people who knew better and still did nothing. After all, the five Wise Virgins were not asked to share with the five Foolish Virgins. The Virgins who did not choose to prepare were left with empty lamps, an “I told you so”, and a door slammed in their faces. Which, dear Relief Society sisters, is what you’ll get from me too. So prepare! But that’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?
My strategy now is that of a cheerleader. Did you know that the church isn’t really even pushing a one-year food supply anymore? That’s something to cheer about right there! They want everyone to get a three-month supply of regularly-eaten food, and a two week supply of water. (Once you’ve gotten that, then you can worry about dry pack canning and all that fun stuff.) So now food storage is about going to the grocery store, which you do anyway. You just have to buy a little extra every time you go. Isn’t that so easy? I give my ward a specific item every week to stock up on and a little pep talk about why it’s an important thing to buy. It’s a no-brainer.
Preparedness is much more than just storing food. I know that. Saving money, getting an education and learning to be self-sufficient are vitally important (Why does no one know how to sew anymore? It’s a travesty!) I just want to make sure that no sisters in my ward are in a situation where they have to watch their children starve to death because they chose to spend their money on fancy Halloween decorations or getting their nails done every week.
I guess it takes a firecracker to stand up and say that out loud.