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Charity-Driven Prepping: Strengthen Communities in Times of Need

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As women who prep to safeguard our families, we understand the value of readiness and preparedness. But have you ever considered how you can extend your prepping efforts to support those in need? Many people donate to their church or to charities year round to support a cause or help those less fortunate. This article explores how you can combine your prepping activities with charitable giving.

cardboard box labeled DONATION billed with canned and dry food products

4 Ideas for Combining Prepping and Charity

Rotating Your Food Stock

You’ve diligently stocked your pantry shelves with emergency supplies, but sometimes it’s tough to keep up with proper rotation of items approaching their expiration dates. While many foods remain safe beyond those dates, it’s understandable if you prefer not to risk it, especially if you have the ability to buy a replacement. If this is you, don’t throw it out! Instead, consider donating them to local food banks, homeless shelters, or soup kitchens. It’s a way to ensure your stockpile serves a broader purpose.

This approach is especially valuable for those who avoid processed foods but still want emergency food storage. When it’s time to refresh your stock, donate the older items, expressing gratitude that you haven’t needed them yourself. It’s a small act of kindness that can make a big difference.

Our supply of dehydrated and freeze dried #10 cans of 10-30 year food storage items was pricey, however, what we gained was long shelf life. Toward the end of the shelf life limit, we’ll 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. Then, we’ll purchase a new stash and pray we get to donate again in another 20 years.

Offer Blessing Bags

When it’s time to rotate some of your stored food items, think about creating “Blessing Bags.” Instead of taking the whole case of cheese and crackers, boxes of raisins or granola bars and single serve applesauce to the food bank, divide these items into individual servings, and include personal hygiene items you’ve collected from your travels. These bags can be kept in your car, ready to offer a bit of sustenance and comfort to homeless individuals you may encounter. It’s a simple yet meaningful way to help those less fortunate.

Giving after the disaster

We all know there are people who, for a variety of reasons, lack even basic preparedness. These are the ones who may come 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 must ask yourself ahead of time and have a plan in place for how to respond.

Instead of turning them away, consider the potential benefits of sharing. Ken Jenson from Clever Survivalist highlights the concept of “social capital.” When you share food and resources, you’re building connections and a sense of obligation among your community. What this means is that 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 items should be inexpensive, easy to store and high energy, such as:

How to Package Items to Give Away

There are two schools of thought when deciding how to package up these giveaways. The first is to preplan and prepackage them for quick distribution, 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.

The second option is to keep items ready to assemble as needed. The latter option may convey the sense that you’re making a spontaneous sacrifice to help, which could be a more discreet approach.

Beyond Food: Other Essentials

If you are prepping for extended civil unrest, EMP, or other long term disastrous events, consider including these inexpensive items alongside food that will help people who haven’t planned ahead

In addition to these tangible items, remember to include a page or two of basic instructions on crucial survival skills like starting a fire, purifying water, and finding shelter. In difficult times, sharing knowledge can be just as valuable as providing physical supplies.  It’s the “teach a man to fish” mentality, right?

Some preppers 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.” However, true disaster scenarios are rarely straightforward. 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. Will you really shoot the mother and her hungry child who knock on your door asking for something to eat? Or is it more humane to offer some supplies and guidance 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.

What are the creative ways you’ve found to combine prepping for your family with acts of charity or kindness? Share your ideas in the comments below, and let’s inspire each other to make a positive impact on our communities!

Originally published 12/22/2014.

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