Food Storage just isn’t for me!

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Some people say food storage just isn't for them, but here are some reasons to reconsider that and start preparing your family. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comI realize that I may be preaching to the choir here but then again, maybe not. Perhaps there are a few among the readers of this blog that will make a change because of it.

Like most of us, I am not a one-trick wonder. We all wear lots of hats. (Hey, a good string of cliches on a weekday morning gets them out of my system; don’t judge.) One of the hats I wear is EMT. This past week I wore that hat to attend a 3 day EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Conference. Attendees were from at least 14 states.

Some things I learned from the Conference

We were taught and entertained by some amazing people who have ‘walked the walk’. They have lived what they teach. Of the 12-15 classes I attended, three stood out as exceptional. Two of those were so great that I felt compelled to reach out through Thank You notes I handed them on Day Two. One replied and granted me an interview for a post I wanted to write.

The next day, we talked about my article topic for about 30 minutes. This man was the Incident Commander in charge of all immediate medical response efforts during the 48 hours immediately following a major Natural Disaster in the Midwest a few years ago. He saw devastation, destruction and death far beyond what our eyes should ever see. In his presentation, he shared lessons they learned while responding to this disaster.

I had to consciously keep myself from letting my jaw hit the floor when, in the course of our conversation he stated, “You know, I don’t really feel the need to store any food, there’s enough stores in our area and the surrounding areas that it isn’t a problem.” I asked how much he had on hand for his family and his answer is what stunned me. “Oh, we’ve got 2-3 days worth.” A man with a front row seat to one of the decade’s major natural disasters says he doesn’t see the need to store more than 2-3 days worth of food in his home. This floored me.

I expect that people who have regular, non-emergency-services jobs might feel this way until they are taught why they should care about food storage, but this sentiment coming from him surprised me.

If he can’t answer the following question, how can we convince other people who haven’t seen disasters first-hand?

Why might you want to consider starting to build up the food storage for your family?

Why I Disagree

So for a minute or two I just want to share several scenarios that might make you want to rethink your strategy,  if you don’t already have food storage.

1.    Buffalo, New York –  7 feet of snow. Can you get to the store in 7 feet of snow? Do you even want to try?

2.    Ferguson, Missouri – Violence, Looting, general civil unrest. Is your favorite grocery store even still there, or is it a pile of smoldering ashes on the ground? If it is still standing, do you want to risk your safety for a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and some Oreos? Did you have to think twice about the Oreos? I won’t say if I did, but I digress.

3.    Frigid cold temps across much of the country – Will the car even start to get to the store? Can you find your car under all that snow? I vote instead for a nice cup of hot chocolate, a warm fire a pot of cream of something soup simmering on the stove and a great book to cuddle up with instead of venturing out in that frostbiting weather.

4.    Family-related expenses. A teenager in a hood-crumpling car crash, and the car has liability-only insurance – Guess where the food budget is going instead of the grocery store?

5.    Unexpected car repair. Since ours are all paid for older cars, I count these as my ‘car payments’  but they don’t come at regular intervals and again, the food budget is my slush fund for things like this.

6.    Health problems. In our case, knee surgery for one child, an ER visit and 4 days in the hospital for another, and kidney stone for the dad…all in the same month.

These are just a few of the ’emergencies’ that can keep you from being able to get food and other supplies for your family. We might not have any experiences with any of these…and to that I say, thank goodness! But that doesn’t mean they won’t happen in the future. Only one gave any real warning.

Why You Should Just Get Started

Food Storage IS NOT HARD. Yet, so many just won’t even ‘go there,’ for whatever reason.  The rest of this article is for those ‘not in the choir’, the ones who haven’t ever thought about needing a supply of food in their home.

There is no perfect food storage program, but there are many that are super organized and tell you exactly what to buy, including a schedule.

Honestly, the best food storage program around is the one that works for your family, the one that increases the amount of food you have in your pantry. Please JUST START. Just buy an extra can or case of Ready to Eat Soup or Just add water muffins or Macaroni. Do that EVERY TIME you go to the store. Before long you’ll be shopping out of your cupboards instead of running to the store every few days. When that happens, you can increase your shopping interval and buy things by the case when they are on sale rather than 1 can at a time at full price. Pretty soon you’ll be able to prepare a meal for your family from what is in the pantry and you’ll only need to go to the store for fresh things.

Dave Ramsey is a financial guru, I totally recommend his teachings. One of the things he talks about is that women, in particular, have a ‘Security Gland’. If we don’t have an Emergency Fund, we get ugly. I’m here to tell you that although an Emergency Fund is super important, having an Emergency Food Fund is equally, if not MORE. important to that sense of Security.

The last three ‘Emergencies’ listed above were my personal ones and they all happened in one period of 30-ish days. Please share the emergencies you’ve had where you wished you had some food on hand, or were grateful you did.

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Andrea is a preparedness educator and loves to help others notch up their own level of self-reliance.

18 thoughts on “Food Storage just isn’t for me!”

  1. It’s interesting that the official you interviewed wasn’t interested in storing basic supplies. I knew a guy who worked for the municipal water company and wouldn’t entertain discussion that there might be anything wrong with the current water supply (fluoride/pharmaceuticals) or that we might be even a little bit vulnerable to crazy scenarios in the future. He believed regulations and protocols kept everything in order.

    I wonder if people overcompensate trust in regulations/protocols to rationalize their jobs?

    Either way, thanks for the reminder that emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, and security – as Dave Ramsey puts it – is ingrained in us 🙂

  2. As a former ER nurse, I have to just SMH at that Incident Commander, but I can’t say I’m truly surprised. It never ceases to amaze me, though. My own personal emergency was the loss of my job. My food stores have enabled us to get through some slim times, as well as helping us to work on eating healthier and budgeting better. I’m also much wiser now on how/what to store based on our preferences, and still able to work on building those stores, even on a limited income. And with frequent power outages in our area, having supplies on hand is only prudent.

  3. I don’t enjoy saying this, but it needs to be said, and if you will allow, posted. The one and only reason your friend/instructor doesn’t see the need to store food is the simple fact that he has lived at other people’s expense the total of his employed life eg. Government employee, period. Only a government employee could oversee a disaster and come away with the opinion that he didn’t need to store food. We have several friends that are employed by the Government. None of them could think their way out of a straight line maze. This may seem cruel, it’s not, it’s just a fact. They are convinced nothing bad can ever happen to them, at least not so bad the government can’t/won’t bail them out of. So far they have been correct, but that will change when the lights go out and then one day too late they will exclaim, Yikes, we should have prepared. Thanks and God bless.

  4. I’m not a mom but as a father of two I have that security gland as well.
    With all the things going on nowadays it is much better to have it and not need it.
    Than to need it and not have it.
    Keep up the good work with your posts. They have taught me a lot and I would like to say thank you!

  5. I enjoyed reading this. I recently visited family in rural Oklahoma, as in miles and miles from anything, and was shocked how little they had in their pantry. What ARE these people thinking?!

  6. We had a year to remember last year. The best part of this story is that I found Survival Mom that spring and started storing food using your outline. That September my husband was given a 7 day vacation with no pay (furlough) by his major blue chip employer. WOW! The next week, he went deaf in one ear-making a $3000 hearing aid expedient-we had insurance-they paid $400. Thank God there was a deep pantry here. Then oldest daughter on the west coast had multiple pulmonary embolisms….Then the following spring DH was permanently laid off. Now, we were not in that bad of shape-he was 60 and eligible for retirement and we had a moderate TDSP. What they don’t tell you is-it took 4 months to get the retirement started (because they laid off that certain population)- 4 months of no income-and while we were offered COBRA for DH-my contribution was nearly $500/month. By then I had stored a years worth of food, had stopped the cable, was raising chickens, had two shelves of home canned pickles, and had stock piled hearing aid batteries and minor meds. It was an experiment in going from120k/yr to 20k. That stock pile saved the day. We squeaked through, and are on the other side. But the security of that pantry CANNOT be denied. Just store some food, do it!

  7. I understand some people may not have room for storage and don’t want to maybe waste food because they think they won’t ever need the food. I was thinking of purchasing 5 or 6 protein powder canisters and a water filter so that would help me during emergencies. All I would need is water so at least its something. I live in Michigan so water should be too hard to find.

  8. Lolita, you rock! I’ve had a very similar year, almost to a tee! I hope and pray for all of us that 2015 will be much better for your family and mine.

    Best,

    Snake Plisken

  9. I’ve known plenty of government employees who DID prep, including my own father. And frankly, most of the non-government employees I know do NOT prep. Sweeping generalizations like the above speak more to one’s bias than the reality of a diverse group of people. The sad reality is that MOST people don’t prep much; it’s a short-sighted decision that doesn’t get tested often so they stay in that state of denial. We must continue to do what we can to educate them.

    It does boggle my mind that the Incident Commander in the above scenario doesn’t have much food storage. But just because someone works in the field doesn’t mean they don’t have on their own emotional blinders for an associated field. Denial is a strong part of human nature, and it happens even among professional responders.

  10. You have to realize that the Incident Commander has been in a position of power, the person saving the day not needing to be saved. He relies on the fact that he has always been in the position of being in charge of the supplies, or good buddies with the people who are, and doesn’t need to do it for himself. His wake up call will be brutal for him and, unfortunately, his family.

  11. As newlyweds, we were snowed in for 4 days with no electricity, heat, phones, or city water. The temperatures were so low that the water main had frozen. The snow was so wet and thick that the power lines and trees came down and blocked the road, so the plows couldn’t get through. Thankfully we did have a spring in the yard that provided water, and the in-laws down the road were able to loan us a space heater that kept one room at 50 degrees. The only food we had in the house that didn’t have to be cooked was a single can of beans and 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Did I mention that we had a waterbed that quickly turned cold? For 2 healthy adults, it was more a nuisance than a disaster, but we learned our lesson and planned better for the next winter.

    More recently, I lost my job, and we were without an income for several months. Because of the food and hygiene items I’d stored, we were able to live quite well until the paychecks started coming in again. We learned a lot during that time period and have adjusted our stores accordingly.

  12. I grew up on the Gulf Coast in the 1960s & 70s. Can you say hurricanes & floods? My dad was a government employee who was paid once a month. This meant that we shopped for groceries once a month. Which means that we had about one month worth of food for a family of six in our home at all times. Our preps were expedient… We kept emergency candles, matches, batteries, charcoal briquettes, 5 gallon bottles of water, etc in addition to the food in the pantry. This was the sixties & seventies, remember? We sat out all the hurricanes & floods that came our way. It didn’t seem like a hardship to us kids, just something that happened yearly. We never evacuated & I’m not sure that evacuations were ever ordered back then. I don’t remember there being any civil unrest in the aftermath of any of the hurricanes. People just seemed to take care of business on their own & didn’t expect the government to do anything. I don’t know why people have become so dependent nowadays…

    1. You have hit the nail on the head! We as a society have allowed ourselves to become dependent on the powers that be. And what better way for a government to control its people than to make them like children, waiting to have every need met. People live in fear, of what they’re not even sure. We are weak & lazy. Teach your children well.

  13. “He believed regulations and protocols kept everything in order.”

    And that, in a nutshell, is IT.

    Is it a religion of sorts, cognitive dissonance, or both?

    In the background, the crew rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic, as it sank.

  14. I appreciate this article, but have noticed something NOT addressed in most of these types of articles.

    We were away from home, in another state, for a few weeks. When we got home, and were looking at some of our food we discovered that mice had gotten to some of it! Now, our “pantry” is just some shelves in the “spare room”, and I knew it wasn’t the best, so I take the blame, and we didn’t lose a whole lot, but we DO want to “fix” this.

    I’m wondering if maybe some ideas, especially for those new to this, could be offered up to protect our food. We do have some 5 gal. buckets, but I didn’t think to use those; I also saw an article a few months ago about someone who was much more experienced then me who did use 5 gal. buckets for storage, and found that they had been compromised by mice, so I’m not sure that’s the answer.

    Thanks for your articles, I find them very informative!

    Perrie

    1. Absolutley! Pests are one of the enemies of food storage. Left long enough, mice and rats can chew through plastic bins and buckets! However, those are a very good start, and I recommend continuing to use them. Canning jars are excellent as well. You can still keep food in mylar bags and pouches or other, softer packaging, but then place those in larger bins with tight fitting lids. Also, Perrie, find out where those darn mice are coming from and put a stop to them! 🙂

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