By Julie Murdock
People have packed into canneries owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 as church leaders re-emphasize the importance of food storage.
The cannery at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City has seen a steady increase in dry-pack canning since the week of the attacks.
“There were days we were sitting completely empty, not being used,” said Cris Darger, secretary of the welfare square cannery. “Now, they come anywhere from 10 people at a time to room-pack, which is about 40 people.”
Wards and stakes can sign up for a time to dry pack food items that they want to buy. Darger said during a normal week the cannery will sell around $800 worth of food.
That number jumped to $2,200 the week following the terrorist attacks and has continued to be above average.
“We probably did over $20,000 last week,” she said.
The Lindon Welfare Cannery has also seen a significant increase in requests for dry-pack canning, said Kelsey Ruse, general manager.
Although the numbers are increasing, Ruse urged people to go through the proper channels so the program will remain orderly.
“There is a priesthood program through which people can come in, organized through their ward and stake, through a coordinator,” he said. “It is done through priesthood order, not panic.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, in a conference address on Oct. 7, said leaders have been counseled for 60 years to set aside food in case of times of need.
“But let us not panic nor go to extremes,” he said. “Let us be prudent in every respect.”
Although members of the LDS Church have been building food storage for years, Ruse said there are a myriad of reasons why people may feel their supply is not what it should be.
“I think people will take stock of their whole situation,” he said. “Those who are just starting, maybe recently married, or those who have moved away and given their food storage away, I think the situation is different for each member.”
People just starting to build food storage or who want to supplement their supplies should make sure to choose foods that will supply the necessary vitamins and minerals for survival, said Launa Simmons, dietician at Mountain View Hospital in Payson.
“We have so much better tasting food storage than we used to,” she said. “But you need to rotate your food storage every two years or vitamins will be lost.”
Ruse said the Lindon cannery has added some new, better-tasting dry-pack items over the last year or so, such as vanilla and chocolate pudding mix, pearl potatoes and refried bean flakes.
Students wishing to dry pack food items should make appointments through their ward or stake storehouse coordinator.