I’ll be blunt. I’ve rewritten the beginning of this article nearly 10 times now trying to lessen its uncomfortable impact. But it’s nearing 1:00pm already and I still haven’t successfully eliminated any discomfort the article may convey. So, I’m just going to say it like it is.
If you are smart, you will have a year’s supply of necessities for you and your family stored. But if you are wise, you will have extra supplies on hand for the refugees that you’ll inevitably encounter after a catastrophic event.
When I say refugees, I’m not talking about neighbors and family members who have willfully made no effort to prepare themselves—you know, those who think that they can just make a “Little Red Hen” play when things get tough. Whether you aid those individuals or not is a decision that is a very personal decision only you can make. (I’ve given you my two cents on this matter in a previous article.) When I say refugees, I’m referring to those who are displaced from their homes, their supplies etc. as a result of whatever disaster arises. It’s simply naïve of us to believe that we will only be aiding our own immediate family. Here are a few scenarios to get you thinking.
Scenario 1: A mandatory quarantine order is issued on Thanksgiving weekend while you have a house full of family and friends. No one is permitted to be out on the streets. What you have in your home is your survival and comfort supplies for those who find themselves stranded at a family gathering. (Hmm…for some this is a disaster in and of itself. :)).
Scenario 2: A tornado is heading for your area suddenly as you are out for a Sunday drive. Yes, you have a 72 hour kit in your car and yes, you have a year’s supply at home of necessities. But you are forced to immediately abandon your car and run for the nearest shelter—hopefully a person’s home with a basement. The home survives the impact for reasons only God knows. But the roads, power lines, and communication lines are destroyed in the wake of the tornado. Your automobile is somewhere out there…lying in a heap of course. Will the new friends you’ve made as a result of this disaster even have enough food and water for themselves as well as you sufficient to endure a few days or weeks while FEMA or the National Guard mobilizes for the clean-up and restoration of society?
In the event of an EMP, vehicles would be rendered useless and commuters would be stranded. Photo c/o losgatosobserver.com
Scenario 3: At 5:35 p.m. on a Friday night, the nation is hit with a fully debilitating electro-magnetic pulse. While you were fortunate enough to be in your home with your family in place, millions of others (some of whom you even know and love) are stranded right where they are. Think about it. Commuters, shoppers, night workers, expectant travelers at the airport, families enjoying dinner at a restaurant, parents and kids at a soccer game, etc. All of these people are stuck right where they are. Very few people have ever even conceived of a plan of what to do in such circumstances, let alone communicated it. So what do these people do? Do they begin traveling by foot? Will rampant crimes of unspeakable natures erupt? Yes. Will places of refuge be critical to the survival of all of these displaced souls? Absolutely.
We cannot assume that we will be comfy in our homes when a disaster hits. As all of you have do doubt experienced, trials never come at convenient times. I suspect that a major disaster such as I’ve described will be no different.
Countless narratives have been shared by the survivors of the World Trade Center attack. These narratives convey an almost super-human amount of charity, kindness, concern, and courage that was conveyed from one person to another as they struggled to escape the horror of the crumbling buildings. Not all who were affected by this event found this Christian side of them, but many, many did. I believe it’s impossible to squelch such an inclination in catastrophic types of situations. So what will you do when you encounter refugees from a disaster and you have nothing to offer them? Send them on their way empty handed? Perhaps you’ll be tempted to give of what little you have at the risk of putting your own family in mortal danger? Of course it’s simply not acceptable for us to shirk our duties to our own families in the name of helping others. Our forever responsibilities are to those whom we have been blessed with as a part of our family nucleus. But having to turn others away doesn’t sound like a comfortable moral dilemma to be in either, right? So, to put it simply, don’t put yourself in that position. Prepare for charitable preparedness now. Do so by asking yourself, “Do I have enough and to spare?”
It’s not common for us to see real life angels nowadays. But that doesn’t mean that the work of our Lord ceases to go forth. The lack of celestial angels on the earth doesn’t mean that lives are no longer blessed. Rather our lives are blessed through the angelic service of others around us. In order to avoid a stressful moral dilemma, we would do well to be prepared to be charitable as well. Prepared is the key word though—not just assuming that you will give charitably when you are confronted with just the right faces of desperation.
Charitable Preparedness: Giving blankets to girls at Allahuddin Orphanage in Afghanistan. Photo c/o thinkbigadventures.com
Even though it's just my husband and I in our home, why do I have extra square buckets laden with hygiene supplies? Why do I have pans large enough to prepare food for a small army? Why do I keep buying fleece when it gets drastically reduced at the local fabric store? Because I do not intend to live out a disaster with just my husband and I. I WILL BE FULLY PREPARED TO AID OTHERS WHEN NECESSARY. Can we give any more sincere thanks to a God who blesses us than when we clearly accept some stewardship for the care and concern of others? Are we more convincing in our prayers of gratitude when we actually back it up with actions of charitable preparedness? If I can give them a meal and send them on their way without compromising my own safety and survival then I will do so. If I can provide them with some tools (such as razors, soap, deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush) so that they feel more like a human being than an animal, I will do so. Besides, as I’ve pointed out previously, thanks to the use of coupons it costs me nothing anymore to obtain these kinds of items. So what excuse do I really have not to prepare to be charitable and mindful of the needs of others?
I know that this article on charitable preparedness may be a bit stressful to you as you’re probably working hard trying just to get your own needs met. But let me ask you. Do you think you would have some extra Divine assistance getting prepared for your own family if you also had the well-being of others in mind? I’m quite positive you wouldn’t be “doomed” in any way for approaching your preparedness efforts in this manner. I can personally attest that I KNOW that I have been blessed with “enough and to spare” because of this charitable preparedness approach. I have a different level of peace knowing that even if my home is obliterated, I have PROVEN myself willing to aid others in a disastrous scenario. As such I can confidently trust that the Lord will provide for me if ever I find myself a helpless refugee.
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Todd, we live in Ontario,Canada, if you do have a registered gun and you want to go shoot it at a range, it must be in a locked box transported in the trunk. As a matter of fact I can't even think of any gun ranges in our area. It amazes me that some states have an open carry law (where the gun is not concealed). How liberal is that.
As for unconstitutional we don't have the second amendment. And I can't see the law changing any time soon, and when it does it will probably be to late for us. I am seriously thinking about getting and using a bow. A crossbow to be exact, funny enough we have several clubs in our area and I don't think I would have the strength to use a long bow. There are even quite small crossbows that could even be used like a hand gun. And we have a longer bow hunting season to.
Good idea, Debbie!
Good question Todd. There have been several studies in which 2 years and even 7 years is recommended for exactly the reasons you have stated. However, to be blunt, no one feels that such counsel would be heeded. However, a year is believed to be sufficient for individuals to begin becoming more self-sufficient on what they have. Were a disaster to happen in the warmer months, it is hopeful that people will be able to rely on the crops that are in existence as much as possible and then rely more heavily on their stores. If it occurs during the cold months, it is believed that they will be able to use their stores, and then when the weather gets warmer, be able to plant the seeds they have stored and live off of that. There are also a great deal of religious leaders (from various religions) that have counseled for over 150 years to have a year's supply minimum.
Debbie, you would think after paying for a "prize" to get sent up there I would remember that you were in Canada. oops. Can't believe I forgot that.
Excellent post, You could also have the refugees help you and put them to work for their keep. If strays came my way, they will have to help out around the house, no one gets a free lunch or stay. In doing this they will appreciate and value our generous offering.
We have made charity a part of our family food storage program. We have reached having our year supply of sugar and flour and have added extra to give to others. We are now trying to finish out rice and wheat and are also building charity into our supply.
I'm sure you are right, for most even a year seems unrealistic. The more I think about it though a year is not enough. I wondered if those who have a year stop at that level and feel completely secure? Ideally we would get a year of storage and then work to be able to have a year of production. I'd like to see everyone be someone self sufficient for veggies and so on.
I'm not at a year, yet. However on some things I might be over. Looking at the amount of space wheat takes up, really why not have 3 years worth? it is cheap and takes up hardly any space. I think that a single skid would hold at least 48 buckets, say a bucket has 35 pounds. that is 1680 pounds in the space of a single skid. with a todays cost of $248 at the local feed mill. Assuming 350# per year, that is enough for 4.8 years.
I know that doesn't really address this topic, or does it. Think of all the bread you could make for vitrually no cost. If you had a skid for each memeber of your family, you alone could potentially save the lives of everyone in your immediate area.
I agree with you Todd.
One thing to remember... wheat purchased for the use by animals MAY be chemically treated and thus would not be suitable for human consumption.
I have one of the mini crossbows. They are great for close range, but not as good long range. Replacement arrows can be made from ironwood or other hardwoods if store shelves become empty.
This timeline of a year keeps coming up. Can I ask what the significance is? It would seem that for most of your natural disasters a few weeks to a month would be adequate to get you through. If you are talking a major nation wide crisis I don't think a year is enough.
For example if we lost a harvest for some reason, it would take your year supply to get through but the following year food would be so expensive we would not be able to afford it. If there was a forced quarentine the economy would completely shut down. I can see it taking more than a year to get going again.
I would think that of the basics a two year supply is a minimum if you hope to make it through.
I remember a grandma in our area telling us that her year supply included not just her and her husband, but her kids and grandkids.
My cousin and her family were hit by the H1N1 flu. Even though neighbors left dinner on their front porch, they were grateful for their food storage.
Very well put! The use of force and charity are enormous problems, if things ever got bad.
Scenario 2.... Hurricane or Tornado? Hurricane: Winds, flooding, evacuation.
Tornado: Winds, localized destruction.
The implication of a basement being a good shelter in a hurricane is dangerous advice. Most of the hurricane events will result in widespread flooding from heavy rapid rainfall, and tidal surge.
You're right. In my mind when I was writing it I was picturing a tornado. But the words just didn't come out that way. Thanks for the catch.
Great post--also brings to mind that it might not be just food you would need to be sharing, but space and other supplies. I really need to get into the coupon practice if for this reason alone....
This is a good article. You shouldn't feel uncomfortable writing about these things. For most large disasters, and maybe some small personal ones, this will be a reality. I know of people right now who are having to live with relatives because they have lost their jobs and/or their homes, or for illness, etc. My son in law was out of work for over a year. They have 5 kids. They relied heavily on their food storage. I also helped them as much as possible. As a result, they did not lose their home.
And we ain't seen nothin yet.
One MAJOR problem will be sanitation. So I add: HAVE ENOUGH TOILET PAPER, along with other means of sanitation.
Remember, he who has the gold, makes the rules. If you share, you set the rules. But your comment is also a VERY good reminder as to why we need to be able to defend ourselves. Guns aren't the only option. (And by the way, the laws which you are sharing with me are highly unconstitutional in my opinion--but that's another story.) I will help people, but it will be 100% my choice who I help and on what terms. How do I KNOW that I will behave that way? Because I practice it mentally and physically all the time. As such I am perfectly capable and willing to defend myself as well if necessary. No one will be staying with me uninvited. You can't rely on the churches or shelters to be available. Seriously. You may end up being one of only a few spots on the map after a major disaster.
I can certainly see the need to be charitable, but I'm afraid if I invite others into my house and feed and shelter them, they may take over and kick me and mine out. A case of bitting the hand that feeds you, then what do you and your family do? I still think it is best to donate to a church or shelter and direct the people there. If I hand out packages of food or other hygienic items, it might be hummm I wonder what else the folks have. We don't have the luxury of owning guns the way you Yanks do. If you do own one, it must be registered with the gov. broken down and stored in a locked box and the ammo in a separate box, tho we are allowed hunting guns but they must be stored almost the same way. I really don't know what the solution is if some stranger shows up at my door, in desperate need and what I REALLY would do until that times comes. I can theorize all I want but in all honesty, people say they would do such and such but when push comes to shove thats not how they behave.
I have baby supplies stored. I do not have a baby, but I do have children who can. I plan on going with the flow...I do plan on having guns, ammo and other security stuff, but I do not plan on doing all that needs to be done on my own..folks will have to earn the right to be here...trust being number one..number 2, no b.s. Survival times are never pretty. Being a leader is as important as surviving. I am also learning wild edibles for all seasons. My hide tanning skills are good. I can make things I need, I need very little. I store lots of non-electric things, lamps, wood stoves, all sizes and sorts of clothing, kitchen, medical, garden supplies, wood tools parts, and I raise critters. I have my place in the country and my other place in the woods. I am low income! I have been preparing for years...before Y2K. Rummage sales rock. On an end note...I love my family and will help those who will help me.
I agree. I think that it is simply good to be prepared for whatever might arise, including serving others.
I recently moved back to the west coast from the south. In the past 10 years I encountered many opportunities to prepare for hurricanes. The last one I was too busy to be aware of... until I went to the store and found the shelves empty. Upon learning that a hurricane was coming our direction, I mentally went over what supplies I had at my house, and discovered that I did not need to purchase anything to prepare for that storm. I had everything that I needed. I can not describe the incredible sense of peace that came over me, standing in that grocery store, realizing that I was prepared. The hurricane turned and went a different way. But I will always remember that wonderful feeling of peace knowing that I was prepared.
It's good to be prepared for whatever may come...including helping others.
Thank you so much for this post. It is such an important message and I am sorry you struggled with writing it. It shows the level of compassion and sensitivity you have for others and difficult situations. I personally appreciate your practical and realistic approach. My husband and I have nearly completed our 1 year of preparedness items and lately we have been thinking of increasing our stores for the event of helping others. We recognize it is a reality and it is the right thing to do. I anticipate being faced with balancing charity with safety and this concerns me in terms of how to handle when it occurs (we are well armed and trained with self protection). Thanks again for your great posts. I learn so much from them.
Pepper/bear spray may be available as well as tazers. I think these are good items to have for all so you can have options in the violence of your response to attack. I think it would still be best to get a gun and register it, but I'd rather have to fight it out in court about shooting someone if needed, than having to plan a funeral.
Most EMS personnel are going to be rather busy at that time so you should be able to assemble and organize your own "personal items" during an emergency.
It's not an easy subject to approach, but you did beautifully! I can't wait to have this opportunity! We are slowly working at obtaining what we need, but I know their will be others and pray we will be as ready as possible to help in what ever ways needed. (Even if is is just my sister who forgot her toothbrush when she came to town).
Thanks for your posts!
I am not sure what I expected from your intro but I got exactly what I expected from you and this blog. Excellent information and thoughtfully prepared encouragement. Thank you for sharing your concerns. We too are preparing for as many as may be needed to share our home and supplies. The golden rule is a good rule to live by in good times and bad.
I have begun buying wool, cashmere, and other naturally warm used clothing at thrift stores, in a variety of sizes for $3-5 each. Amazing the beautiful things that people give up. I also recently took Jim Phillips Winter Without Worries class to learn how to make foam clothing (which have been tested in Arctic conditions over many days and found to be superior over even what the Army uses). Google Jim Phillips PALS - Phillips Arctic Living System - for more information on this amazing solution to cold weather.
I'm always cold in the winter. PALS TJs look like something that might work for me.
On another note: Thrift stores are a good source for inexpensive blankets, jackets, etc.
I'm curious where you live? Is it someplace in the USA?
I hate to even suggest it but there are always illegal guns. If they are locked up and kept hidden, who is ever going to know you have it? Perhaps if you were able to get a high capacity shotgun, legally, and keep it broken down. In an emergency you can quickly assemble it.
Thanks again Kellene for the cheese wax. I have waxed two bars of cheese so far and am waiting for a sale to buy more cheese. I usually wait til it goes on half price. I also won one of the Morning Moo milks, and we will be going to Texas in January for a visit so If you want to wait and send it to me then that is OK with me. Save you some postage. ha ha
Great post. Really makes one think. i am working real hard to get the year supply ready for our family of 4, just increased to 5 as my SIL recently moved in. Poor thing doesn't have a clue. So I am prepping for spouse, self,15 year old DD, 78 Year old mom & now 56 year old SIL. Also adding to the pot as one DD with Husband and 5 kids are struggling to get by. One DD hasn't "got it" yet. The youngest of the married DD's is actually prepping...She is teaching the rest of us "couponing" and we are saving lot's of $$$ so this is helping with being able to afford the extra stuff... Thanks for all you do...
I have thought about this subject often. It also makes me think of the scripture of those who have been warned should warn their neighbor. I am at a friend's house and my in laws a lot, and they are not prepared. My friends mother is an emergency preparedness specialist and my friend doesn't have water stored, and has to go to the grocery most days to get food for dinner. What would happen if we weren't home when a disaster hit? We aren't really prepared, though we are trying with very limited resources. But, at least we have around 40 gallons of water stored, as well as some food. Not much, but we are getting there, slowly but surely.