The Atlantic

The Stockpile of Food in My Garage

As I hunker down at home with my family amid a global pandemic, I have a new appreciation for a strange religious tradition.  
Source: Yale Joel / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty

On a metal storage shelf in the corner of my garage, dozens of multi-liter cans sit stacked on top of one another. They are filled with dehydrated carrots and pinto beans; wheat, oats, and powdered milk—enough food, at least in theory, to keep me, my wife, and our three kids fed for several weeks in the event of an emergency.

I am not a doomsday prepper, nor did I acquire this stockpile in a recent spasm of pandemic panic-shopping. I am, instead, keeping up an odd religious tradition that stretches back more than a century—one that I’ve always found slightly embarrassing and anachronistic, but that’s felt a lot more vital lately.

Like most lifelong, and custom-made furniture for cleverly storing canned goods. While the most extreme practitioners tend toward apocalyptics, the Church for food storage: to ensure that “should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others.”

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