In addition to all the other hats I wear I also am the cannery coordinator for my local LDS congregation. Last night was our canning night — though I am usually the only LDS member to show up and the rest are non-member friends of a similar mind set as we have.
Last night was a madhouse at the cannery. Panic has already set in amongst those who are following all the news around the world (and not just fixated on the reactors in Japan). My group is normally around a dozen people. There were three other groups of up to 50 people each in last night canning like crazy. The large carts we use to move the cases and bags around were being piled high with items — to the point that one single mother of two had the cart loaded with her two little kids on top and could not move the cart. (Yes I helped her and helped her load her items into her car — including in the front passenger seat and under the kids.) Plus in addition to the organized groups (other congregations in the area, several local non-LDS churches, etc.) there were 54 “walk ins” who were for the most part just starting out on their preparations.
What normally is an hour long canning session and a relaxing dinner at a Denny’s restaurant afterwards with friends turned into a three hour marathon conversation. As a long-time user of the facility (my mother got called as the regional cannery coordinator when I was a teenager and I’ve been doing it ever since) I was helping the volunteer staff explain how the system works, the sorts of foods to store, etc. As such I had a chance to talk to a lot of the newcomers and many of them expressed to me their fears and what had motivated them to start. They all noted that the events in the Middle East and the Tsunami at the same time had caused them to re-evaluate their lives and decide to start doing “something.”
I also asked several of them why the LDS cannery instead of some of the Internet storage food companies like Mountain House. Again the answers were consistent — none of them could find survival supplies on the Internet unless they were willing to endure a several month wait to get the items they were ordering. Even the LDS cannery is beginning to run out of certain items — last night dehydrated carrots and dehydrated apples ran out.
I would urge folks to get moving on their preparations now before the real panic sets in. To date the system is under strain from only a small percentage of the total population waking up and getting ready. Imagine what it will be like once measurable (even if not hazardous to your health) amounts of fallout are detected in California or a greater Arab caliphate goes to war with Israel? – Dr. Hugh