Thursday, October 25, 2007
My church encourages everyone in it to keep a (year) supply of food and water for their entire family on-hand at all times in case of an emergency. Living in apartments, Brandon and I have only ever managed to keep 72-hour kits. That can change now that we have a house with a pantry and plenty of other storage spaces.
A couple Sundays ago a sign up sheet went around the women's meeting (Relief Society) where you could purchase cans of food supply items. There were four to choose from and the prices seemed good, though I had no idea how big the cans were so I couldn't be sure. I bought one can of quick oats and signed up to volunteer at the community cannery.
Well, last night was my chance to serve. My ward (aka: parish) and one other had been assigned to work the Midway cannery from 6-8 that evening. I had no idea what I would be doing but I was excited to do some volunteer work and get involved in my community and learn something new. Basically, we canned what our wards had ordered.
There is a warehouse full of about 15 different types of food, all in very large (Costco-size) bags. We did four items last night; quick oats, regular oats, dried apples, and hot cocoa mix. We put them from the bags into more useable size (aprox. the size of a gallon of milk) cans and seal them for freshnesss (they are supposed to last 5 years). You are supposed to slowly use and replace your food storage, so it rotates and never goes bad.
It worked kind of like a factory assembly line. Some people brought food and cans from the warehouse into the front. Somebody counted out the correct number of preprinted labels (we did 101 cans of regular oats and 40 cans of cocoa, etc.), date stamped them, and then put them on the cans. Most of the time I was moving the cans from that table, into the bin in which they were filled, dropping in a freshness packet, shaking down the product so they could get filled more fully, then moving them over to where they would have a lid placed on top and be set onto the canning machine that would seal the top on (I got to do this at the end and really liked working this simple machine). Lastly, a plastic removeable lid would be placed over the top so that once the can had been opened it still has a top. Then they were placed in boxes of six each.
Maybe you found that all incredibly boring, but I was facinated and I plan to do it again. Some of the people I worked with were real characters and everyone was there with a willing heart. I seriously had a great time. I bought a can of dried apples before leaving cause there were a couple extra and they were delicious.
Sometime I'd like to go to Salt Lake and volunteer at welfare square and see where the bags of food come from and all the other welfare-type service begins.