Rotating Your Food Stock
When you’ve got your shelves full of pantry foods saved for an emergency, sometimes it’s hard to keep up on proper rotation of expiring items. (Though many foods are fine passed their “expiration dates” some are not, and some people choose not to keep/eat expired foods when they have the ability to buy a replacement.) If you find that you can’t or don’t want to eat what you’ve stored, don’t throw it out! Take it to a local food bank, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen.
This is also a great way for people who don’t eat processed food, yet want to have food storage in case of emergency. Go ahead and buy your food stock and shelve it. When it comes time to rotate it out, instead of feeding it to your family, donate it to the food bank.
Our supply of dehydrated and freeze dried #10 cans of 10-30 year food storage items was pricey, but what we gained was long shelf life. Toward the end of the shelf life limit, we will simply load up the truck and donate it to a family or organization in need. Yes, we could use it ourselves, but instead our donation will be made with gratitude that we didn’t have to live through a disaster that was so bad we needed our long term food storage to survive. We will purchase a new stash and pray we get to donate again in another 20 years.
When deciding to rotate out some of your food items, consider breaking them down into individual items. Instead of taking the case of cheese and crackers, boxes of raisins or granola bars and single serve applesauce to the food bank, divide them into ziplock baggies along with the travel sized personal hygiene items you’ve collected from your travels and make Blessing Bags with them. Keep them in your car for an easy way to offer a little something to a homeless person you encounter. For more ideas on what to include in blessing bags, click here.
We all know people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have even a beginning level of preparedness. These are the ones who will be knocking on your door asking for help when they have no food or supplies. What will you do? Send them away? Give them some of the preps meant for your family? What if they are armed? What if they have young children with them? These are all questions you have to ask yourself ahead of time and have at least a plan of how you intend to respond.
Ken Jenson of the Clever Survivalist gives one good reason to be charitable with your preps besides simple generosity. “When you share food with [others] you will gain something called social capital.” You’re being generous with them, so they may feel obligated to help you. They may not have preps, but they likely have skills, and working together as a team is the beginning of setting up a thriving community in the midst of hardship.
So what should you put aside ahead of time in your charity prep stash? Jenson suggests the items should be inexpensive, easy to store and high energy.
Dried Mixed Fruit
There are two schools of thought when deciding how to package up these giveaways. The first is to have everything preplanned and prepackaged so you just have to hand the gift to the person and send them on their way. This is convenient and quick. Some preppers think it’s too convenient and quick which is why they don’t like it. Showing a stranger that level of preparedness may tell them that you have a lot more stock ready for the taking. Instead, consider the second option which is to have items set aside but not prepackaged. Keep a stash of plastic grocery bags with these items and fill them as needed. This might send the message that you threw this together on the spot and make it appear more like a “sacrifice” you’re making to help.
If you are prepping for extended civil unrest, EMP, or other long term disastrous events, think about other inexpensive items besides food to stock up on in your charity giving preps that will help people who haven’t planned ahead. In addition to these tangible items, you can “teach a man to fish” by also including a page or two of basic instructions on how to start a fire, make water safe to drink, finding shelter, etc.
Water purification tablets
Individual hand sanitizers
Feminine hygiene products
Bug repellant wipes, baby wipes
Small tissue packs
Many in the prepper community are adamant about only “taking care of their own” and tell others “don’t come to my house looking for food or I’ll shoot you.” While I don’t deny the need to protect and provide for your family, I don’t believe it will be as “easy” as just shooting people in a true disastrous scenario. Are you really going to shoot the mom and her starving baby who knock on your door asking for something to eat? Or would it be better to have some additional supplies set aside to offer as you send them on their way? We all understand the importance of supporting those in need even during the “good times.” Plan ahead and be willing and able to help during the “bad times” as well.
Author’s Note: Click this link to hear more on the subject of charity prepping in a podcast by the Clever Survivalist. If you want to get right into the meat of the topic, forward ahead to about the 18:12 mark. And don’t forget – depending on who you give it to, this can be a tax deduction