The world-wide pandemic has caused great hardship for so many throughout the world. Many have lost family and friends. Many have lost jobs or income as their jobs were put on hold. Most of us have experienced shortages as we have visited grocery stores only to find empty shelves.

The experts are now advising we will probably see a new wave of the COVID-19 virus the fall and winter of 2020-2021. It’s time to take note and evaluate what we have learned the past 2 months about our preparations, the realities of the skills we do or do not possess and just what grocery stores really look like during a time of crisis. We know more challenges will come before the Savior returns. Consider this time the fire drill, like the ones we practiced in grammar school so we were ready. What have we learned we still need to be ready?

It’s not just a virus that has so many scrambling for food or worried about the future. There have been earthquakes in Idaho and Utah, not the normal places for sure. There have been tornadoes, a huge fire releasing nuclear waste in Russia and a terrible invasion of locusts in Africa destroying crops. New Zealand and Thailand are facing droughts causing food shortages. Huge floods have caused death and destruction in middle eastern countries. Ebola cases rise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

With all these challenges can we expect the church or the government to care for our needs? No. Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “The best storehouse is the family storeroom. Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come.”

“Start now to create a plan if you don’t already have one, or update your present plan. Watch for best buys that will fit into your year’s supply. We are not in a situation that requires panic buying, but we do need to be careful in purchasing and rotating the storage that we’re putting away. The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we take heed of the counsel and prepare for the future” L Tom Perry

What have we learned from our self-quarantine to help us plan and prepare for the next disaster to surprise us?

We have recently learned grocery stores run out and cannot always replace what has been sold. As I have interviewed dozens of people, I have discovered a definite, trend concerning items missing from shelves all around the globe. I was surprised. Universally, whether in France, the U.K., pacific, or the United States there seems to have been a lack of a few items no matter where we live. Top of the list toilet paper, you already knew that. I have long recommended storing TP as a great bartering item. I have not purchased any since this started and I will not have to purchase any for quite some time. Other items missing in action, eggs, bread, flour, yeast, sanitation items and chicken. Although this information is interesting what is most important to understand is what was missing from your own shopping list.

The other revelation; the link between preparation and spiritual strength. As I have spoken with many the past few weeks, I have discovered those who tell me they are coping well, looking forward with confidence and seeing benefits from staying at home, they were almost always the ones who were temporally prepared with food storage, non-food storage and skills. People seem to be more able to feel the spirit and be guided by it when not worried about feeding their family.

Now is the time to evaluate.

I have learned I need to store eggs. I will be freezing several dozen as soon as they are available again. I had plenty of yeast but was shocked when the shelves were bare when looking for flour. I will add a little more. I will also be freezing more cheese. I know what I was missing. Do you?

Do you know what you have used that should be replaced? Are you making a list as you empty a mayonnaise jar or use the last cake mix or jar of pasta sauce?

How about non-food items? Did you realize before this that we produce zero vitamin C in this country and most of our antibiotics and acetaminophen come from China? Do you have a good supply of vitamins and common over the counter medications? When I visited our Rite Aid this week there was not one bottle of vitamin C or zinc anywhere. I have taken this time to inventory my non-food items. I discovered I had more hair spray and less deodorant than I thought. I have plenty for now but will be adding a few more. I will also be adding more rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.

If this virus returns and we once again need to quarantine, as was necessary in the 1918 pandemic, will you be more prepared now that you have had a trial run? Now is the time to make a list of the special occasions celebrated in your family each year. Are you prepared to celebrate them? One of the most asked questions among my friends and Facebook followers has been; how can we celebrate? How can I make my son’s birthday special or it’s our anniversary what can I do? Favorite foods, fun decorations, small gifts, can all make a special day amazing. Do you have what you would need? Are they on your list of things to add to your preparedness store?

What can you do now?

Make a List

Begin listing the foods your children have been missing. Have they asked for treats or meals, but you lacked the ingredients to prepare them? Record the ingredients you were missing on your master list of items to stock up.

List meals and treats you personally are missing. I have been craving cream of wheat and dark chocolate. I almost never eat cream of wheat but when you begin eating oatmeal to save eggs you realize choices are a  good thing.

Learn or Practice skills

It is impossible not to notice how many are sewing masks and gowns, a skill that has been considered no longer important has become crucial to our health and wellbeing.

Some foods have been in short supply and as summer approaches we are left to wonder if fields were planted will there be people to harvest? With more than 50% of our fruits coming from China will there be people there to harvest and load containers for shipments?
China is now experiencing an increase in cases of the virus. Can you plant a garden or fruit trees? To help you think thru what you should be considering a priority now due to shortages and increased prices we are already aware of review the information published on April 29th on the TotallyReady Facebook page.

President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: “We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments … can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden … neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities” Plant something now. Many fruits and vegetables are easy to grow. Ask a friend with a garden for suggestions if this is new to you.

Many have or will be receiving government checks in the next few weeks. What will you do with your check? Many of you may be out of work or have a reduced salary so for you the money may go to pay bills. For the rest, have you considered building up your General Store with essential items?

“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 somehow will be set aside because of

the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.” Ezra Taft Benson

As humans, we quickly forget. Make your lists while you are living this challenge and remembering, make a plan to move forward. No more comfortable complacency, scripture is being fulfilled, time to act.

Just beginning or trying to figure out how to prepare? Get help from Carolyn and the hundreds of people participating on the Totally Ready Facebook page.