Often in our church congregation you might find someone volunteering as a home-storage specialist. A home-storage specialist doesn't necessarily fall under one organizational umbrella. Consequently, you might have different instructions, goals and/or objectives if you serve in this responsibility. For example, in our own ward and stake, the home-storage specialist falls under the women's organization (Relief Society), but serves the whole ward or stake. In other wards a home-storage specialist might be a called as a welfare specialist, attend ward welfare meeting and work primarily with the Priesthood Quorums and Bishop. Up until recently, I served in the Relief Society Presidency and had some responsibility with the home-storage specialist.
In the past it seems, many home-storage specialists traditionally took orders, gathered money and delivered food storage. Because of tax-exempt issues in our area, we have specifically been asked by our leaders to not take orders or collect money anymore. But there is so much more that a home-storage specialist can do to encourage, teach and model preparedness than just take orders. So, I've included a list of ideas below.
As a HOME-STORAGE SPECIALIST you can:
*Schedule cannery trips. Create car-pooling groups to travel to and from these trips.
*Make arrangements for and educate congregation members about ward/stake home-storage equipment.
*Do "home-storage spotlights" each month in church.
*Include preparedness and home-storage information in ward newsletters, ward bulletins and ward emails.
*Create and distribute a monthly home-storage newsletter.
*Emphasize the *new* program. Too many people don't realize that there has been a change in the way the church is asking us to collect home storage. You could devote several of your spotlights to educating your ward members about these changes. Here it is in a nutshell: 1-Get a three-month supply of foods you regularly eat; 2-Store drinking water; 3-Save up for a financial reserve and THEN 4-Work on your longer-term storage (no longer a one-year supply).
*Pass around sign-up sheets for you to visit homes and help families inventory their current supplies and make goals.
*Help individual families transfer foods, menus, and recipes that they regularly eat into a three-month supply. It may be helpful to turn their menus into lists that can be tracked and rotated.
*Give ideas for Family Home Evening lessons that teach preparedness.
*Draw attention to church-magazine (Ensign) articles that teach home storage concepts.
*Use quotes and information from Priesthood Leaders to instruct and motivate.
*Make members aware of deals. Doing this requires caution and care to preserve the tax-exempt status of the church. Instead of promoting a specific business or sale, you can indicate that December is a good time to buy baking supplies, March to buy gardening supplies, etc. If individuals in your area want to do group orders, you could encourage them to collect orders through community resources instead of at church meetings or through church networks.
*Teach classes (or arrange for teachers to teach classes) to the Relief Society or ward about home-storage concepts including financial preparedness. These classes can be taught as a part of Sunday meetings (as directed by priesthood leaders), additional Relief Society meetings, ward activities, or workshops.
*Invite the ward or stake to a storage "fair" with displays. Include financial, water, and home-storage information.
*Facilitate and teach gardening classes. If space is available, develop a ward garden.
*Become educated yourself so that you can answer questions as they arise. Be aware of current food safety recommendations.
*Counsel with Priesthood Leaders and/or Relief Society leaders in order to understand the priorities that they feel are important to emphasize in your area.
*Educate about ideal storage conditions and packaging.
*Plan and carry-out ward or stake preparedness simulations.
Are you a ward or stake home storage specialist? I would love to hear about your experiences and ideas. Please respond below with your comments.