Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Trying to be self reliant and self sufficient!

I have been busy these past few weeks doing, many things really, with the Relief Society1. One such thing has been gearing up for the pre-Women's Conference2 shindig. Our stake3 as many others has been focusing on being prepared for emergencies.

Our stake set goal dates for each family to have certain items for a 72 hour kits, and then an actual 3 month, then 6 month and so on whole house storage. The target date for the 72 hour kits was September 1, 2007. Many of the wards4 had parties or social events that helped motivate if not partially provide for these kits. Some of the wards set aside special lesson times to help encourage the families to do what they could to prepared and become self sufficient for and during an emergency. "Emergency" could mean losing a job, natural disaster, mental illness, physical illness, death of a family member, whatever.

For our part as the Stake Relief Society Presidency we planned and prepared items that could be stored in a #10 aluminum can, sealed, and set aside in a car or office, etc.. The items would provide sufficient nutrients and calories to sustain life over a three day period, minus fresh water. Sorry, couldn't find a way to get enough water in that can. All in all the items were gathered, and for $8.005, one could have a minimal survival kit of food. We're not talking luxury dining, but the very basic necessary for survival.

Here's a list of what went inside:

Day one:
Morning: 1 hot cocoa, 1 bag of trail mix
Noon: 1 small can of tuna, 1 apple sauce
Evening: 1 granola bar, 1 cracker snack pack
Snack as needed: 3-5 pieces of hard candy

Day two:
Morning: 1 instant oatmeal, 1 apple cider drink
Noon: 1 dry fruit roll, 1 can Vienna sausages, 1 lemonade drink
Night: 1 granola bar, 1 beef jerky log
Snack as needed: 3-5 pieces of hard candy

Day three:
Morning: 1 bag of trail mix, 1 hot cocoa
Noon: 1 cracker snack pack, 1 nut mix pack, 1 beef jerky roll
Evening: 1 granola bar, 1 apple sauce
Snack as needed: 3-5 pieces of hard candy.

This menu requires four cups of water, and provides vitamin C, fiber, carbs, fats, and sugars. We also strongly urged the families to have water stored, enough for each family member's daily requirements.

We also suggested adding a pack of chewing gum to the outside of the can for tiding hunger pangs. We secured a small can opener to the top of the can, and added the menu and expiration dates of food items on the side of the can.

We retained the hand operated can sealer from our local Bishop's Storehouse6, however anyone could make a similar survival kits using a large Ziplock bag or #10 can with a plastic lid to keep it semi-air tight.

On a Stake level we put together and sealed 400 cans in about 3 hours time. Each family, whether or not they participated in the #10 can/72 hr. kit received a packet of information (7 pamphlets) from the American Red Cross and other organizations. First Aide instructions, utility shut off instructions, and info on how to calm children and pets during high stress, etc. A door hanger was given to each family in the stake for easy i.d. during a area disaster. It was Red (HELP written on) on one side and Green (OK written on) on the opposite side. A small circle cut so that it can hang from the front door nob to clearly indicate to passersby, teams, etc., if help is needed in that home. Illustrations for utility shut off was also printed on the door hangers.

Also during that time we cut fleece for 18 tied blankets to be tied at a later date and donated to our local shelters. The women were so speedy however, they finished cutting and tying the quilts... so now we need to purchase more fleece so that our next activity we have something to tie!

We also have a stake-wide humanitarian project wherein we have asked each of the different buildings to provide items for activity backpacks to donate to the Domestic Violence shelter here. This began the first of August. We found backpacks at our local $1. 00 store and bought up about 250 of them. We then suggested 10 age specific items to add to the backpacks, preschool, grade school, jr. and high school, and mothers. For $11.00 a back pack could be filled and donated. We planned for this to be an ongoing year round effort; however the sisters7 in our stake have been so generous and busy that the shelter has all they can store for months. So now we are donating the rest of our bags to both the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Did I mention we haven't even used 200 of the back packs we purchased? The sisters bought their own!

So we all have been very busy and the shelters here are appreciating it very much. We are really lucky we have such great ladies to work with!

Tomorrow I will try to post some more ways our stake has come up with to gather our items and prepare for self sufficiency. Some of these people have terrific ideas that don't cost a dime! Others have a system that will help you stock up your supplies for $5.00 a week!

1: The largest women's organization on the planet in terms of membership. Their motto is "Charity Never Faileth!" and boy do they mean it!
2: Women's Conference is held once a year, usually in the early fall, and broadcast simultaneously worldwide in over 64 languages. Members of the Relief Society hear specific instruction and motivation from the organization's General Presidency.
3 & 4: A "Stake" is a geographic area comprised of 9-14 "wards" or congregations. Each ward/congregation is comprised of approximately 650- 900 families. The term "stake" refers to the stakes that were used to hold the temple tent secure in biblical times.
5: The $8.00 included the cost of all the food items, the cans and the lids, an anti-moisture packet to help reduce oxygen and moisture in the sealed can, a small 'army' can opener, the tape used to fix the labels to the cans, and paper reams used to make labels and information sheets passed along with the cans.
6: Each regional area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a "Bishop's Storehouse". Once a month members of the church fast for two meals. They take the money they would have spent on those meals and donate them to the church to be used to fill the Bishop's Storehouse with items necessary to live on; food, clothing, household items, etc. If a family has exhausted all other resources, they may go to their personal Bishop and ask for assistance from the church. The Bishop will work with that family and help them to get back to self sufficiency on their own. In times of extreme hardship they may use items donated through the storehouse. The storehouse also has facilities and materials required to can and seal food for storage. Members of the church are encouraged to do just that so that in hard times they can be truly self sufficient.
7: Within the church men and women are often referred to as 'brothers and sisters', for we feel we are truly that in God's family.

add to sk*rt


Rynell said...

I did a similar 72 hour kit workshop last year. We used (and sealed) mylar bags. It is a very good feeling knowing that I have those, along with some food storage. I am working on the water storage part.

Your account warmed my heart today. I love the good feelings of the service and preparedness conference.

chronicler said...

Totally cool stake project. We don't do cool stuff like that. We just have the stk pres buy it all and distribute it. Because he's wealthy ya know.

Lisa M. said...

I love it-

This is something I have very strong feelings about. Thank you so much for the details.

Water, water, and water, and power storage.

I'm quite impressed, little ladY!

The Pea said...

Love it. Cristen was jsut asking me what should go into her kits, this is true inspiration baby!!!!

s'mee said...

Thanks everyone! Yeah, everyone here is pretty excited to get it all accomplished for ourselves and then encouraging the community to get theirs done as well.

I love that our stake Presidency is explaining to all that much of this idea is to prepare enough to share with your neighbors...especially when they have already been warned. hehe, it's all good.

Don't forget to check all the resources available through Provident Living dot org.