On May 29, there was a storm in Ohio and Indiana that produced 17 tornadoes, and in the past two weeks, at least one tornado has touched down every day in the United States, including one in Blackfoot, Idaho.
On May 26 in Peru, there was an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that affected not only Peru but also Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. Hurricane season is starting soon along the coastline and winter in our part of Idaho is its own natural disaster. Power outages in the winter have sent students to seek refuge in buildings on campus so they might find a little bit of warmth.
These things can devastate communities and people.
There is nothing we can do to stop these natural disasters, but preparing well will tell the difference in survival.
Surviving a natural disaster is not easy to do, especially without having done the preparation. There are so many obstacles in the way for us, but we at the Scroll believe it is important for our student body and faculty to be prepared for such things, especially being so close to the super volcano that is Yellowstone.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recommends we have three months of food supply, water supply and a financial reserve. While this is important to provide for families and people affected by disasters, unemployment and food shortages, for us college students even getting one week of groceries is tough sometimes.
It may seem a little doomsday preppy, but having even enough food storage in your pantry for three days is better than none.
It is difficult to even think about where to start. There are so many sources to order dehydrated foods, but those kits start at $50 and having enough food storage for a family can go into the thousands of dollars range. This is not even counting the space it takes up. People with food storage have been known to store it under beds, hidden in cupboards, having rooms dedicated to the supply and even wrapping it in burlap and using it as furniture.
A can of green beans from Walmart is 50 cents. A 10-lb bag of white rice is less than $5. A 4-lb bag of sugar is $4.48. All of these things, when stored properly will last for years. If you keep the rice in an airtight container like a mason jar or a vacuum sealed container, it will be usable for up to 15 years.
Every time you are grocery shopping, pick up an extra can of corn or green beans or whatever you will eat. Canned food lasts a long time. Having it in your pantry will help if you can’t afford groceries that week, lose your job or if roads are closed, and there is no way to get to the grocery store.
The misconception with food storage is that you only use it during an emergency situation. Having a can of tuna or chicken noodle soup is not going to take up space, and you are allowed to eat it if you are hungry. The point of food storage is that you should store what you use and use what you store, that way the supply is always growing and evolving.
My grandma had giant metal bins of wheat and 50-gallon barrels of clean water. She also had eight kids. This method would not work for me as a college student. I do not have a wheat grinder and I don’t think I could actually get the 50-gallon barrel up the three flights of stairs to my apartment.
However, having a few gallons of water stored away at the bottom of my pantry is something I can do, and it is cost effective. A gallon of drinking water is 80 cents. I could get three gumballs for that, so if I find a quarter on the ground or decide I don’t need that slice of pizza from the Crossroads, I could add to my food storage instead.
A package of ramen noodles has a shelf life of 12 months. It only requires hot water to make and is cost-effective. I am sure most college students eat it regularly, so having it as some of your food storage is not a bad idea. It is something you use and you can store it, so it will not go to waste.
Another example is instant mashed potatoes: an easy food that only requires hot water, has a 12-18 month shelf life and is used regularly by students at BYU-Idaho. It costs $5.55 for a six-pack of them, and they come sealed so there is no worry about bugs getting in it, or it spoiling like an apple.
Dried fruit when stored in a cool dark place will last for an entire year. It is good to have on hand; it is sweet, so you are not confined to ramen in an emergency and provides the vitamins needed for survival and living healthily. Things like raisins, apricots, and mangos are available for less than $10 for a few pounds. It does not have to be only for an emergency. Swapping out some dried fruit for the pack of M&Ms between classes is better for your body anyways.
There are a lot of foods that will last “forever” if stored properly. Keeping them in airtight containers in a dark cool place can almost guarantee it will last. Foods such as white long grain rice, pinto beans, bouillon cubes, honey, soy sauce, salt and sugar will stay good for over 30 years. Those are staples in the pantry of most people.
The possibilities are endless, from canned chili to trail mix and spaghetti. All have long shelf lives which can be made longer when stored properly. They provide nutrition and are not nearly as expensive as the food storage meal kits marketed to preppers and Latter-day Saints alike.
While it is the hope of the Scroll no person will ever need to use food storage or be caught in a natural disaster, the steps to prepare food storage are necessary. Spending money on food storage is essential and not as expensive as you may think.