“I’m On a Low-Income. How Much Food Storage Should I Store?”

Recently, a reader sent me this question about food storage:

“Is it ok to mainly work on a 3 month supply rather than a one year supply? I mainly ask this because, as I mentioned, I’m on a low income & can’t afford much for food storage, so am working on a 3 month one. I thought I was doing really well & have been buying a few items – or just 1 – on a certain item of food – but then last week I spoke to my friend who has a complete one year supply & I feel really discouraged. She said I should be working on a years supply, not a 3 month one & to check that the dates on the tins etc are a year. I tried to explain about the 1 week/3 month supply ideas in the booklet that the church put out in 2007 but she didn’t want to know. I know this is opposition in all things but I really feel like giving up after her negative comments. Please let me know that I’m doing something right in my food storage, even if it is “only” 3 months!”

Please dear sister, may I reassure you that you are doing everything right! There are no “10 Commandments to Food Storage.” In this post I will share some recent counsel and underline phrases that may help you.

For years the LDS Church counsel has been to gather a 1 year supply of food, but change is a constant in a worldwide Church which now has 15 million members. To make food storage doable for all Church members, the new guidelines in the “All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage” brochure clearly state:

“Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others. We encourage members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. 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.”

I love that last phrase – store as much as circumstances allow. From the current Frequently Asked Questions on ProvidentLiving.org we read:

What is the most important thing I can do regarding family home storage?
“Get started! If you have already begun, faithfully continue your efforts. As Bishop H. David Burton taught: ‘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.'”

What’s new or different in the new pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage?
“It teaches simple basics of home storage and encourages participation. It offers hope by showing that it is possible for all Church members to prepare for adversity by starting modestly and doing what they can according to their individual circumstances. The pamphlet helps eliminate the perceived complexity of home storage.” (see ProvidentLiving.org)

The new guidelines offer hope for all of us! President Gordon B. Hinckley saw the need for change in the program when he said:

“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.”

You may only have two cupboards in your kitchen for canned and boxed foods whereas your neighbor has a large pantry, and the woman down the street has a basement. You are all capable of doing food storage. Some people have the finances and space to store a year supply of food, some a 7 year’s supply and some only a 1-month or 3-month supply. Many young married couples, single mothers or fathers, singles, families on limited incomes, or families where one spouse is opposed to using family finances to gather food storage cannot possibly have a year supply of food.

We are the stewards of our own homes and must make these decisions with careful planning and prayer. After we wisely evaluate our own circumstances, then it is time to move forward.

I firmly believe, my dear friend, that you have taken the first step and have begun, and you will be blessed as you continue because the Lord will see you are walking in faith and obedience. May you feel His love in everything you do.

My best wishes to you,


For more information on getting starting, visit my START HERE page.

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