Idaho families and organizations prepare pantries for a pandemic
MERIDIAN, Idaho — Twenty-one hundred pounds of wheat are carefully stored in Diane Anderson’s Meridian pantry, along with hundreds of pounds of canned fruit, salt, legumes, herbs and even toilet paper.
Anderson isn’t running a food bank or a shelter. Instead, she’s a member of the Mormon church, and an adherent to belief that church members should be prepared with live-saving food and water in case of disaster.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls the practice “provident living.” In the wake of hurricanes and other natural disasters — and the possibility of a bird flu epidemic — provident living is getting more attention.
“When it hits, we’ll have a couple of weeks to get ready and that’s it,” said Vaughn Killeen, the head of the Red Cross of Greater Idaho — an organization charged by the federal government with handling shelter, food and care in times of disaster.