Putting together charity packs for any occasion

This guest post by Mama J and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

M.D recently posted a survey and invited comments on whether the Pack were willing to help neighbors or strangers in a survival situation. This is one of the hardest parts of prepping for me. I do not have many neighbors that would be dependent on us, though a few. Our rural neighborhood will come together to help them. Not just one family.

I don’t believe I would be able to turn away homeless hungry children. Not without great emotional cost. Actually, my family plans on keeping me away from stray children. We have adopted several.

If I have enough for my family and we have the means, I want to have some way to help as many people as I can, even if it is for a short time. One gift of a hot meal, a clean body, a kind gesture. To ease the suffering of a child is the greatest gift I can imagine. These packs are designed as a starter kit or a temporary kit for short-term assistance.

In a large disaster and all infrastructure collapses I can imagine a lot of displaced folks wondering down the road with their children. Looking for sanctuary, or a meal. I feel I must do something. If this comes to pass and I run out, at least I know I did everything I could for as many as possible.

One of my favorite things to do is “Treasure Hunt”. Yard sales. Thrift stores, Salvation Army, Craigslist, Free-cycle. On my journey I have seen so many items that can be put to good use, so I started building Charity Packs.

Before I say anything else, I must stress that you MUST prep for yourselves first! We have been prepping for over a decade. When you feel like you have sufficient stores for yourself and have extra items, put them to use here. Even with a limited income we all tend to have extra items laying about. Even one or two packs would be helpful.

I have $20.00-$30.00 budget per week to Treasure Hunt. Mostly I buy items for my family list on this budget. Some weeks I don’t find anything. Some weeks I hit the Mother Lode. Once in a while I find something so incredible I dip into the savings.

If I have funds left I buy items at the Dollar Store.

Ask your friends to save items for you. Keep an eye out for you when they are shopping. I see the same people at yard sales every week. We talk and tell each other what we are looking for. We have exchanged numbers in our phones. I have purchased hundreds of canning jars and equipment by text messages from other sellers. Not to mention the camping gear, pack supplies, med supplies, the list goes on and on. One woman I see often is all over the place. Almost everyday. The only thing she does is cruise around looking for sales. I think she may be a hoarder, but she has helped me find some amazing deals! She never asks silly questions either. Bless her heart!

Check store clearance items. managers specials. Using coupons on clearance items make them almost free or deeply discounted. I make a clearance circuit in a each store. Every store in my area has specific spots for clearance items. Especially if a store is remodeling. They will have crazy amounts of cheap stuff. Add a coupon and BAM! Happy Dance.

Talk to the store managers, they will let you know the best times to pick up on good sales. Tell them what you are doing. People generally want to help you to help people. The manager of the Salvation Army and one of the local supermarkets have been very generous with items for these packs.

The basic Hygiene Kit is something I put in all of the packs. Everything is hotel/travel size. Thrift stores often sell some these items 5 or 6 for a dollar. I have had a lot of these items donated.

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soaps
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Small emery board~ I found a case of these at a thrift store for 50 cents. Must be five hundred in the box.
  • Toothbrush/tooth paste
  • Comb
  • Tissue
  • Mouthwash
  • OTC pain relievers
  • Cough drops
  • Band aids
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet ones
  • A small container of laundry soap.
  • Dryer sheets~ Help with bugs.
  • One quart size ziplock bag to put it in.
  • A towel and wash cloth. I often these in perfect condition used.

This is enough to give someone a few showers or even “creek baths”. Being clean can make someone feel human again. We are not setting up a household.

Sometimes I find and add…

  • Nail clippers
  • Disposable razors
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray

Food / Water Packs ~ These vary depending on what I have

  • Water bottles
  • Chlorine bleach in a small bottle~ Water purification. This has to be changed out yearly.
  • Cup~ Metal camping cups when I can find them.
  • Fork, butter knife, spoon. Super cheap at a thrift store.
  • Homemade dehydrated soup mixes. Dehydrated foods with gravy mix or bouillon. Or….
  • Cans of soup, beans, veggies, whatever I can find.
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Ramen

Small packs of condiments ~ Salt, pepper, ketchup, sugar, sweetener, soy sauce. Friends save these for me, we rarely eat out.

  • Dried or canned fruit
  • Hard candy
  • Tea bags
  • Hotel coffee
  • Drink mixes
  • Instant cocoa

If I can find mess kits I include them. Or a small lightweight pan to heat water. Grocery store bags to put everything in.

Baby Packs Hygiene kit ~ Babies can’t use some of the items in the kit, but the parents can.

12 Cloth and or disposable diapers. 12 diapers doesn’t seem like much but cloth can be cleaned and reused. Once a disposable is used, it is gone. Cloth diapers are hard to find, but can be cut and sown from flannel. It only takes a few minutes to whip up some diapers if you are already sewing. Three pieces of flannel, some thin plastic sheeting in the middle, sew it around the edges. Plastic pants to cover are a rarity now. You can add velcro tabs instead of using pins. Store bought Nappies are too costly. I used cloth diapers for all of my children. People will use what they have and be grateful for them. When I reach my goal of 25 completed baby packs I will start adding more diapers.

  • Small pack of wipes or a small baggie with a wash cloth
  • 2 Diaper pins
  • Ointment in a baby food jar. Or a small tube. Find someone that is using baby food and get their jars.
  • Infant Tylenol~ If I can find it cheap
  • 2 receiving blankets
  • 2 warm blankets
  • 2 Pajamas or Onezies
  • Grocery Store bags for dirty diapers.

You could add half of a twin sheet to use as a snuggie. Make a triangle and snug (tie) baby to your chest. Sometimes I find formula in the clearance bins. New moms should be nursing. Period. I save formula for orphaned babies.

Toddler or Kids Packs ~ It is surprisingly inexpensive to make these baby kits. A few dollars. Except for the Tylenol and formula.

  • Hygiene kit
  • Small stuffed animal
  • Dollar store items like a story or coloring book, crayons, bubbles.
  • Small flashlight/AA battery~ Can be a big comfort
  • Large t-shirt
  • Bootie socks
  • Small blanket.
  • Children’s vitamins
  • Food Pack

Female pack

  • Hygiene kit
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Condoms
  • Hair ties/clips
  • Vitamins
  • Book / Bible
  • X Large t-shirt
  • Socks
  • Small Flashlight/AA battery

Small tool kit ~ Tape, zip ties, wire, paracord, multi-tool. A zillion things could be added.

Pregnant Packs ~ The same as Female pack, add Prenatal vitamins~ I found eight bottles of these in a clearance bin for $2.00/ $2.00 coupon each. Free! Exp. 2/2014. Baby kit.

Small birthing kit ~ Chuks pads, Sterile gloves, sterile plastic clamps, new sterile razor blade, for clean cord cutting. Bulb syringe. Small bottle of rubbing alcohol. These items I buy online. You can purchase an OB kit on Amazon for $8.00. I put these together from several sources for $3.00. Look around.

Babies born in austere conditions can easily die from tetanus or infection if the umbilical cord is not treated properly. Mothers are at risk of infection also…

Men’s Pack

  • Hygiene kit
  • Condoms
  • X large t-shirt
  • Socks
  • Vitamins
  • Book / Bible
  • Tool kit
  • Small Flashlight/AA battery
  • Matches/toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint
  • Food pack

We buy as many backpacks as we can for these kits. The most I will spend on a back pack is $1.00. Friends save their kids old school backpacks for us. The yearly ski swap will donate left over back packs. Otherwise the packs go into shopping bags. Plastic, canvas, anything that is free or inexpensive and sturdy.

I store everything in large Rubbermaid containers or boxes out-of-the-way. I have one container that I dump items in until I have enough to make bags. Organized and clean.

You might wonder why I included t-shirts and socks but no other clothing. Pants size vary so much that I could not even begin to delve into that. However, t-shirts are almost a one size fits all if they are big. I find nice almost new clean t-shirts at thrift stores. A pair of new socks are one size and can change your life! New socks are almost better than chocolate. Almost.
So far, I have 40 nice used clean blankets stored in space bags. 20+ coats and heavy hoodies in varying sizes.

I have not included anything that can be used as a weapon, or anything that can used against us. I don’t think anyone will attempt to throw flaming sanitizer soaked cotton balls at us. The razor blade in the preg pack could hurt someone, but if anyone in my group is stupid enough to let themselves get cut with a razor blade or stabbed with a fork from the food kit……need I say more? We haven’t paid thousands of dollars in training for one of my kids to get stabbed with a fork.

I have stored some inexpensive good hunting knives with fire starters, but will only hand them out if the correct opportunity presents itself. Case by case basis. These packs will not be handed out anywhere near our property, so folks will not know where to find more. Most likely handed out at a road block. We may end up donating all of them to a church, camp, or anywhere they would be helpful. They could be used as barter items. We may end up using them ourselves.

Other items that would be useful to homeless folks are tarps, plastic sheeting, rain ponchos, garbage bags, shoes, duct tape, the list is endless. Whatever you are willing to share and store.

I have 92 of these packs made up right now. We are usually able to build 5-6 a month. We date them to rotate out anything over 12 months by donating or repacking with fresh products.

We have donated these packs to the homeless shelter, women’s/children’s shelter, to families that have lost their home to fire and tornado victims.

They can be also be used as an extra Bug Out Bag. Or a project for Scout Troops and Church Youth Groups.

Helping others doesn’t have to cost a lot or take away from your own supplies. I incorporate this activity into my regular preps. Do what you can, when you can. Have fun with it.

We are happily open to suggestions for other ideas and items to include – please share your thoughts, suggestions and comment below. Happy Prepping!

This contest will end on April 22 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first… Yes

M.D. Adds : folks please share this post on Facebook – it shows that we care about others and are not a bunch of crazy people waiting / hoping to get to shoot everyone that comes to us looking for help. Thank you.

Comments

  1. Montana Rancher says:

    A great article, I have pondered this a lot before but haven’t taken action, You have given me many good ideas.
    Some thoughts
    Perhaps some pool shock in a small glass bottle with instructions rather than the bleach, no shelf life problems and a 2 oz bottle would treat about 100 gallons of water. Water bottle, toilet paper, disposable lighter, your lists we’re very complete but I think you missed those.
    Thanks

    • Montana Rancher,
      I had orignally thought of the Pool Shock, but read that it was corrosive and could eat its way out of the bottle. The bottle I am using for the bleach are the small rubber stopper spice bottles.
      I haven’t had a problem with the “bleach eating its way out”. Yet.

      Do you think the pool shock would be OK in those kinds of bottles? You are right about it treating more water and lasting longer.

      I had some tissue (gads, you can never have enough toilet paper) on the hygiene list. Do you think anyone would think it was funny if I put some corn cobs in the pack? LOL.
      I hope water bottles were on the food pack list.
      As to the lighters, they are expensive and I have LOTS of free matches.

      • Mama J, hardware stores have those metal paint cans (empty) in pints and such sizes, do ya think those would work to contain the pool shock?

  2. Petticoat Prepper says:

    MamaJ,

    Another good article! I haven’t prepped to the point where I can start doing much for others yet. I have bought extra rice and beans to give out. Now that I’ve discovered dehydrating I can see getting to a better place in my preps much quicker.

    As the neighborhood dog grooming/real estate agent….I know any client that can get to me will come begging for food; for their pets. I have a stock pile of dog and cat food for my pets and some for theirs. I’m always working on that. Next to children, pets are precious. So, that’d be my suggestion maybe a small zip bag of dog/cat food?

    Again really good article!

    • PP,
      Thank you! Anytime you can get to the point where you can share is a huge step in your preps.
      The pet food is a great idea. It hadn’t crossed my mind. Could you suggest the best/least expensive brand? I get coupons for dog food but don’t use them. I make most of my own dog food and would love to know which kind to buy. I read that the cheap Walmart stuff (Ol Roy) gives dogs the runs.

      • Mama J, cheap dog food may not be a good option. What with all the problems with dog food from China? If it is says “distributed by…” or “imported by”……it is from China and they are just getting around labeling it as such. There are brands that are made in the good ol USA …………….better for dogs all the way around 🙂

        • Worrisome,
          EXACTLY the reason why I don’t feed my dogs store bought food. Also, why I was asking what kind to buy.
          I will not buy $50.00 for 30 lb dog food to hand out as charity. But, I would buy if I could find a decent brand and could get it cheap. I think that a starving dog would eat anything. But, making it sick would not help either.

      • Petticoat Prepper says:

        I pick up any national brand made in USA. I generally get the smaller bags as I coupon. I really watch for the BOGO sales and double my coupons which can get me 5 lbs of food for almost free. I rotate food and treats, FIFO just like my own food preps. FYI any time you switch your dog’s food do it slowly. My animals are always changing up and I just give a mix of new with what they’re eating so they don’t get the runs.

  3. Scott Settler says:

    Momma J,
    The world we live in is hard and will soon be harder. You are recognizing the difficulties of doing “the right things” in a complex broken world. We must protect our own, yet we must value others we do not know. Discerning who we need to help versus who we need to protect against is difficult in extreme circumstances.

    Should you consider taking others into your group, or just send them on their way with a token, or not so token, measure of help? Are there those whom you should refuse to help, because they are merely looking for opportunities to exploit your resources? What if it is clear that the help you are ready to provide is only delaying the inevitable for them? Who should you be willing to take in to your group, assuming you feel safe trusting them? Should you take in someone willing to help? Should you take in someone willing to help, even if their helping still leaves you short on essential supplies? Should you take in someone who is harmless but unable to help? What if you take them in and it turns out to be a mistake? Do you “kick them out” later? How exactly can you do that? All of these are tough decisions.
    Of course you could adopt a “zero tolerance policy”, but that would put you down on the same level as a ruthless scavenger. That would be the easy way to make choices, but certainly not the right way.
    God bless you, Momma J.

    • Scott,
      You bring up some great points that have weighed on my mind for a long time. We have enough people in our group as long as everyone can make it home.
      There are so many scenerios that could come to pass that it is impossible make plans for all of them.
      However, we would not be inviting anyone into our group unless they were highly qualified, like combat or medical. We have to look at who they are bringing with them also. Especially not in the beginning of a collapse.
      We have alot of family that are very far away. If they were able to make it to us, they would be allowed in.
      No one in our group plans on bringing anyone in that has not been discussed already. We do have wiggle room. Everyone must vote unanimously to allow strangers into the group.
      One of our steadfast rules is not to allow our core supplies to be redistributed. Our core number could change at anytime. Ug, I hate to think of it, but I must.

      As to prolonging the inevitable…..I do not know at the moment that I help someone, what their tomorrow brings. I would not not give antibiotics to a terminally ill person. But, I would provide a child a meal. If I had it to give.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. All of them are worth serious discussion.
      Many blessings to you also Sir.

      • Prolonging the inevitable would not be my decision to make. In the civil war, people that lived along thoroughfares shared whatever they could as they could. Some had water barrels they kept filled by the side of the road, sometimes it was hardtack, sometimes fruit from a tree, etc. People made it home from battlefields, hungry but not dead as a result. All you can do is the humane things………and hope that someone, somewhere down the road will also be able to do something as well………..

    • Scott,

      You raise important questions. I would like to add that post-collapse women and children will be sent ahead to see who has supplies that the group can raid later. It sounds terrible to think this way but . . . .

      I am leaning toward the law of reciprocity. If these the folks are not the type who would help someone else if the shoe were on the other foot, I will not help them. Do onto others as they would do onto you.

      • Encourager says:

        “I am leaning toward the law of reciprocity.”

        I agree with you, Bam Bam. To watch hungry, hurting people stumble past my house weighs heavily on my heart. I have not set aside ‘packs’ for them (although I plan to) because the pendulum swings the other way and I start thinking about what could happen if the word got out and we were inundated with the needy. I think the idea of handing out the packs at roadblocks/churches, etc. so the source is not known is a good one.

        I, also, have thought long and hard about women and especially children being used as scouts for raiders. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. It is sad that our attitude will need to be one of suspicion first but how will we survive otherwise?

        As for choosing a “wanderer” to join your group ~ a person would have to have a talent or skill that is lacking in your group. They would also have to be of good character…which would be hard to judge in a short time period. Perhaps being supervised and observed at all times and locked up at night for a period of time would be best until they have proven they could be trusted. A probation period should last for at least a few months with periodic reviews. I would think the probation would be on a sliding scale – first extremely strict, then the wanderer earns less restrictions until they are voted in or out by the main group. No one can be on their ‘best’ behavior or hide their true nature without some cracks appearing. I wish someone would explain certain characteristics that we should watch for, some ‘tell’ that would clue us in to deviant behavior. Certainly if said person is caught stealing or abusing someone else in anyway – verbally, physically or sexually – it would be grounds for immediate expulsion. In my opinion, if we are in a survival situation with the complete breakdown of society, certain crimes should be punishable by death, not just expulsion. The sexual abuse of children comes to mind immediately. Very restrictive, explicit rules would have to be spelled out for anyone desiring to join the group so there is no misunderstanding about what is expected.

        • Encourager,
          Everything you mention is good. Great in fact. I think all the questions and ideas are worthy of another article. It would be wonderful if someone with a criminal degree would write something about reading toxic people.
          Some of us have the gift of correctly reading people. Some not. I am not when it comes to children. I can usually nail it when it is an adult alone.
          You would have to have heavy security to be able to allow any strangers into your retreat.

          • I ditto the request for an article regarding reading people. Are there any Wolf Pack members out there who can do this??

            I think it is a subject that is very important for survival.

  4. Mystery Guest says:

    This is a very good post. I enjoy it when someone goes to the trouble of making out detailed lists.
    But being the cynic that I am I will be practicing a more intolerate stance. Now having said that it is because I know people and having moved quite a bit have met enough people to gratefully forget.
    I would suggest that one always remember to practice a prudent guide of knowing people. Read them. Do not for one instance because they have children think that this is not being used to your downfall.
    Do not let them into any of your secure setting.
    I cannot in all honesty say that feeding those or helping those outside your boundaries is a good idea. I would make sure that I gave them as little as possible and send them on their way. Cruel probably, but caution is needed.
    But I wish to remind everyone that this is not going to be as the “Great Depression” was. We will not have soup kitchens nor bread lines. I must remind you that if things continue as they are, we as preppers are going to be in a world of hurt. I must remind you that we will also be sought out with all means possible and it will cause many to lose more than they are wanting.
    I must remind you and say what possible good will you be to anyone if you let your guard down?
    Now having said all of that it does not mean I will chase off everyone from my setting. But I will enforce “OPSEC” till one would think it was worn out.
    As for the now still relatively normal status of our lives I donate as much as I can to people and organiztions. There are so many out there already hurting it is scary.

    • Thank you for the important reminders.
      We all must follow our hearts. Mine is to be cautious and help when I can. Others may not be so inclined. That is OK too.

  5. MamaJ,

    Nice article, and great lists, but the thing that helped me most was your comment

    “These packs will not be handed out anywhere near our property, so folks will not know where to find more. Most likely handed out at a road block. “.

    If the world as we know it comes to an end, I would never consider putting my family at risk by giving to others – I did not want them to find someone with a gun and then come back and possibly kill one of my beloved family members or a neighbor – extreme hunger makes people crazy.

    However, the idea of not doing anything beyond prepping for my family and the neighbors was weighing on my mind, and the thought of hungry children makes my heart ache so badly.

    Again, I don’t know what I’d do without the wolf pack.

  6. SCPrepperPoppa says:

    Excellent article MaMa J! Lots of solid info and lots of “food for thought” for me too. Shows what can be accimplished with a moderate amount of money and big heart!

  7. Don’t give away food or goods at your door, it will only encourage more to come and eventually you will have to turn them down. They will then know where the food is and be resentful that you aren’t sharing with them and you will be targeted. I can guarantee you that your friend or nieghbor who has a hungry family will resent it if he knows you hvae food and he will do what it takes to get your food. Op-sec is the only solution and once you break it you cannot fix it.

  8. good work MommaJ….. Can Opener! was that in there someplace?

    • Trashman!
      Forehead smack!
      I suppose the needy would have to open a can with a rock. I have a small box of those Army can openers. P-somethings. I gave them to my kids to put on their keyrings.

      I can’t use one myself unless I stick my tonque out the side of my mouth and mumble bad words. Believe me I have tried. I just can’t do it without extreme difficulty. Do you think it has something to do with being left handed?

      • Actually, you don’t need a can opener to open a can. Rub the can on a piece of concrete for about a minute and you can gently pry the top of the can off.

        I saw this on YouTube. I didn’t believe it and had to watch it twice.

      • Encourager says:

        Yes, Mama J! Being left handed is why they don’t work for us! They are slanted for the right-handed person. I couldn’t figure it out either, just got so frustrated! Then I studied it and realized the slant on the opener was going the wrong way. If you try to use it backwards (go the opposite direction you normally would) that can help.

  9. Tough decision about sharing, real tough. I imagine a hard core don’t do it to start with until things quiet down which could take several months. A lot would depend on where you live and the support you have around you also. It might also be ideal to have a “church/charity” organization or you present yourself as one. That way the assistance would appear to come from one group of individual.
    The best way to provide food is dehydrated soup packs which can be made up using 1 gallon mylar bags. Small zip lock bags can be used inside the mylar bags to seperate ingrediants and I would include a pack of matches inside also. We have been saving the vacuum packages that our coffee comes in. We use Starbucks coffee and their packages are quite thick and can be resealed with an iron and a rag.
    As far as accepting others into our group would depand on a lot of things. I will not sacrifice my family and friends safety but if there is room and means to sustain others we would do it. We have talked about looking for those with skills but never did decide if we want to discriminate by excluding others based on that criteria.

    • Dan,
      I like the way you think. I have imagined things playing out the same as you do. At least I hope they do.

      These packs we are sharing are to be handed out without anyone knowing where they came from. SHTF I would not hesitate to hand them all over to a Church. I would not hand them out myself.

      What a great idea about the Starbucks bags! Do you just lay the rag over the area to be sealed and lay the edge of the iron across it?

      • Yes, lay the rag, make sure the iron is on high with no steam and then iron them shut. I use a 2×4 on the back side to press against. I really need to start reading my comments before posting them. I can spell better than above but don’t quote me on that.

  10. Now that I feel better about our preps, and I’ve found a scource for cheap 2 gal buckets w/lids, I am starting to put together “charity buckets”. Mostly shelf stable bulk foods and some small personal hygiene its, saved from my travels.

    • Lone Wolf (ED) says:

      I get 5gal buckets w/lids for free from bakery so I would look to them to..

    • JP,
      Buckets are an awesome idea! They can be used as a chair. To haul water, and as a bath. Endless uses. Brillient.

  11. I like your ideal the things I have would change is I use cup-of-soup I break them up and then they go into a bagie, mark on the bag add to a cup and then 1 to 11/4 cup boiling water and cover for 3min. I also have added Instant rice 1 cup per bag and 2 each Beef or Chicken Bouillon cubers in a bagie mark on it add to a cup and add bouillon to 1 cup of boiling water then add to the rice…
    Here is a web site that is very good http://www.minimus.biz/
    you can found many things to add to the kit…I found some P38 on ebay for 25 for about $8.00 and buy now and NO S&H so I add one or two to the kit….

    • Lone Wolf.
      I doubt too many will have measuring cups. Why not mark on the baggie “Add Hot Water To This Line”? Draw a line with permenent marker. Easy enough to determine where the line should be after you fix the first one .

  12. Idealistic, to say the least.

    Quite obviously many in the states have not been in this position since the Great Depression…but it seems to be getting more plausible.

    A few observations from having been in numerous natural disasters, high threat environments, etc. over the last 4-decades:

    1. Keep your “Circle of Trust” small…once the hoards find out it is “Christmas at Joe’s house,” take a guess where they will start congregating. You will then face the prospect of try to disperse them…which will lead to violence.

    2. Utilize a church, Red Cross, local or state emergency management system, etc. as the central point of aid dispersion in your town, neighborhood or compound…if you are in the donating mood, then quietly deliver your donations to the Point of Distribution (POD), where there should be better security, organization, etc.

    IS-26 Guide to Points of Distribution
    http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is26.asp

    • I agree with Westpac.

      Ever win a public anounced Lotto? Hoards will end up begging for what you have, and that is when the economy and country is doing good. I would direct strangers to a food bank outlet in my area if they are looking for food and supplies.

      If I took in strangers inside my home, I would be making a mistake. Strangers are strangers, I wouldn’t know their history, associations, police record, or character. It takes a lot of time to know someone and what they would do.

      I made a big mistake inviting a stranger in my house for a meal who was very hungry many years ago. He took possession of my home, threatened me and my roommate and beat me. My roommate threw his backpack out the kitchen door and he retrieved it as we shut the door behind him. We endured rocks breaking our windows and I sat over my daughter with a knife the whole night. I didn’t have a phone then, but managed to run to a neighbor’s house to call police the next morning and that scared him off..

      You Christains who believe in kindness to strangers take the Good Samaritan route, if you meet a stranger on the road who needs help, send him to an “Inn” and have him cared for. Don’t take him to your home..

    • Idealist? LOL. Yep. Gladly. Aren’t we all who haven’t had the pleasure of your vast experience.

      1. I find it interesting that I clearly stated that I would not be handing out anything from my front porch. No Christmas at Joe’s, I’m afraid.
      I also reiterated that in the comments.

      2. I also find it interesting that I stated that I would be happy to hand my efforts over to a church or like organization to distribution. However, I would not likely be handing anything over to FEMA.
      As an idealist I believe that my charitable efforts would most likely be utilized after FEMA has exterminated the majority of citizens in their care.

  13. One of the things that I find fascinating with The Walking Dead and other TV shows and movies reflecting massive social breakdown is the initial or First Contact between survivers. Groups or individuals.
    From my personal 60 year observations of human behavior I expect to see an out pouring of aid and assistance from local disasters but I don’t expect too much good to be exhibited by anyone when time turns to total crap world wide.

  14. I really find it interesting that I have clearing stated, more than once that I would not be handing out these packs to anyone near my home.
    I most likey will not be handing them out personally.

    They do not have my name and address engraved on an invitation for petes sake!

    I have no intention of allowing strangers into my retreat.

    MD would you please message Scatzie Ohio and tell them that I posted this. I wanted to respond to their request of a list of items I included in the packs and it was too extensive to list on a regular comment.

  15. Rider of Rohan says:

    MamaJ, whats coming will be unlike anything that has ever been seen here in the US. Even prior to the Industrial Revolution food was plentiful in this country as game was numerous and people were in small numbers.
    But think of 300 million people all looking for something to eat at the same time. The vast majority of people have made no provision for hard times. Think about what that means. A plague of locusts would be preferable.

    There will be many evil men and women who will have as their main strategy the evil misuse of starving children to get their way, and feret out food supplies. They know there are good people who will have some food, and who will be loath to see children starving. The more cunning of the groups will feel no remorse using innocent children to get their way, and then cast them aside when they use them to discover your provisions.

    I don’t think very many preppers have given enought thought to how truly terrible this thing could be. A truly large dieoff could occur if things weren’t turned around quickly.

    All that said, I’m certainly for helping all the people I can. I’ve bought extra rice and beans just for that purpose. But OPSEC is paramount, and one can bet their bottom dollar that if you bring food to a roadblock, or a church, or wherever, there will be people who find out you have food and resources. I like the idea of having a group retreat, and I doubt anyone operating alone will make it. I hope I’m wrong.

    Great article, very much food for thought, Mama. I’m going to get less sleep tonight than what I would have.

    • Rider of Rohan,
      If the SHTF scenerio involved 300 million starving we would all be FUBAR. Not many of us have underground bunkers where we can hide out for a year.
      Hunkering down into a tight invisible group or guarded community would be the best case scenerio.
      I live in a very remote rural location and I worry more about the Mexican Cartel than I worry about hordes of starving people.
      I do not doubt for a minute that someone can and will try to force their way onto our location.
      It won’t be because of a couple days of supplies that I put into an old backpack.
      Hopefully, it will be handled in our favor.

      • Good point on the Mexican Cartel Mama J. Or motorcycle gangs, or just gangs that are used to being tough and taking what they want when they want it. I agree OpSec is essential. Building relationships with good neighbors works well. Giving away something to help the hordes but not from your front door is absolute…..you have that concept down………….Just make sure no one follows you home……….that is my concern in helping anyway. I want to be able to do what I can for someone less fortunate, but I don’t necessarily want them to come home with me. Back to dog food, would love your recipe for home made dog food. Since I took in this “rescue” giant, who has become very round and fuzzy, I am going through lots of dog food. I only buy the best I can find because of my prior advice…and I supplement with cooked beef with vitamins, fresh eggs and shredded carrots, spuds, sweet potatoes, but it is like filling up a hole in the ground. On the days she goes out for training and playing with German Shepherds from the neighborhood, she is a bottomless pit!

        • Worrisome,
          Love the fluff balls!
          Having one grown Pyrenees, Pyr pup and a lab/mix we go through a tremendous amount of dog food. I buy Nutra, a very expensive food recommended by the Pry breeder to store. Although I only use a small amount of this to mix in the food I make.
          Mostly I make dog food from all the ingredients that you listed and more. We have an awful lot of wild game like elk and deer. We have 4 hunters in the family.
          We butcher a steer and pigs, chickens and turkeys. The dogs get all the organ meats and extra bits from all these animals. Every year before hunting and butcher season, I clean out the freezer and all the meat left over is canned for the dogs.
          I boil huge cauldrons of bones, joint knuckles to store for chew bones later. Our farm can look frightful with all the big bones laying around.
          This might sound gross to some, but I am grateful for it. The county calls me when there is a fresh deer or large animal hit on the road. This is very good meat, still warm. If no one at the shelter can pick it up to process it, they sometimes call me to get it. I can make up to 300 lbs of clean high protein dog food from it in half a day. I use all the ingredients you listed but also add green beans, rolled oats, rice and whatever I suet or fats I have in the freezer. I do not give the dogs wheat or corn.
          Is your puppy gulping food then barfing it up? Sometimes they do that when they swallow alot of air and the other dogs eat it. Then they come in for more. Seems endless. I think the Pyrs are self regulating when it comes to food. They eat ALOT, but not as much as I thought. I give 10-12 cups of food a day for all three dogs.

          • I took in a rescue Pyranese one time. She was my friend for about 6 years! Loved her! But then I can honestly say I love pretty much all animals. Hope weighs in at 98 pounds these days. She eats a lot because she plays so hard. From being kicked so hard that she had a torn kidney and liver and being thrown out a truck window to the almost self confident dog she has become has been a wondrous thing. She is still hesitant around strange men and when tasked with something new she tends to want to come lay on my feet and cover her eyes…but for the most part she is competing with her German Shepherd buddies at the guard dog school and they race around the neighborhood here making complete idiots of themselves. So hungry they are. They all get fed 2x per day so no, we don’t have much regurgitating going on……..just eating pounds of food and growing and growing and growing. My other dog weighs in at 35 pounds and has medical issues so is on a special diet…roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, rice, eggs, bone and blood meal, etc. I don’t have access to the game but kind of like the idea of taking stuff out of the freezer that might need rotating and canning it up for Hope. At the moment she is on a mix of several recommended bagged food + plus whatever. Dr. says she will slow down sometime within the next year when she finally gets done growing up and out……….sigh

            • Worrisome,
              Some people simply need to be shot publicly for being so cruel to animals! If are that cruel to dog, can you imagine how they treat their family?
              What a wonderful life Hope has found with you. I am sorry about your pocketbook buying all that dog food, but look at all the joy she brings you.
              I think this dog will provide you with endless hours of entertainment and could save your life one day. Totally worth the 1000’s of lbs of chow. Indeed.
              In A SHTF situation, did you see Montana Ranchers comment about trapping varmits for dog food? I will be doing this in the winter when the fleas are dead.
              I will be trapping prairie dogs and other varmits for food for my dogs if I need to. They really do gobble them up whole and I have never seen them have troubles.

  16. This is a great article. I don’t have a huge amount of storage yet, but I have been able to set aside some extra food to give away. I would never give it out from my home or even myself. I bought 8 packs of 12 oz diet Coke and saved the bottles. I washed them really well and have stored beans and rice in them. The are portion controlled and it would make the food spread longer. A bullion cube would go with them. I figure I will drop them off at a distribution center (not government), but if there is a decent someone in charge.

  17. Hello Mama J;
    I understand what you are doing, it is simple. A hand up to those who are down an out is different than just a “handout”. Yes, if and when the SHTF life will be different but you wish to make difference now, an then. It is a nice list you put together for the neighbors who are limited on resources. I see both sides of the fence, after putting quite a few years on this planet. Life has changed from a once lovely nation of giving people, we are now just trying to survive as a nation and people.
    Where do I stand, my family first, and then only those who I know need the assistance. The rest……well, the sand box is awfully full, and it will be their fault, not ours. You can lead a horse to water “BUT” you can not make it drink!

    • Becky,
      You are correct. The sandbox is overflowing. I know folks that will not listen and they will suffer greatly.
      They will be the Zombies. The Horde walking the roads starving and diseased.

      • But don’t you think the die-off will be great? I just can’t see hoards of people starving and diseased wandering for long. They will be too weak. Especially if it hits in winter! A good snowstorm will devastate any who are living out in the open.

        Should we wait four to six months before we do give-aways? I would think the people who lasted that long would be people who once had some supplies set aside and then ran out and hit the road. Perhaps other preppers.

        I am prepared to take in orphans or abandoned children under, say, seven years old. Or maybe five. Gosh, just contemplating these circumstances and situations makes my stomach hurt.

        Let’s put it this way: I will do what God wants me to do, when He wants me to do it. Anything less will be under my own power and I have been there and done that and failed before.

        I have often thought of a ‘resting place’ where wanderers could stop and rest and build up their strength. Water, soap, wood and basic food would be supplied. In exchange for staying there, people would work after the first 24 hours of resting. Chopping wood, digging latrines, keeping the camp clean and cooking the meals (with supervision). There would be a limit on how long they could stay – say 4 days. Or longer for pregnant or just-given-birth women and their families. It would have to be guarded, and the number of people there at one time would have to be limited. Perhaps this is a pipe dream?

        • Encourager,
          Not a pipe dream. YOUR dream. If the opportunity presents itself you will know what to do.
          It is so hard to determine what will play out. Scenerios are endless.
          I would not consider taking in adult strangers, unless their is heavy security at your retreat. Again, you will know what to do.

  18. Mama J –
    Very, very well done article. A few more like this and you’ll have enough prize winnings to fill a lot of needs!
    I’ve always shared food stuffs, but haven’t given much thought to the other “necessities” until now. Being single and on my own for way too many years, a lot of the items you mentioned I would never have thought of (I live pretty simply).
    Thank you for the article and especially for the lists to help me get started.

    • K. Fields,
      Thank you. The prizes from the last round are amazing. More generous than I could ever imagine. I can’t wait to try them all and write a review to encourage others to send in articles.

      Have fun with your own packs. Let us know if you discover a new interesting item to include.

  19. Montana Rancher says:

    Wow, lots of good comments!
    I was thinking more about this last night and I feel the 5 gallon bucket does trump the backpack as they are just too useful.
    On dog food, keep in mind we are talking of domesticated wolves or coyotes, so most things that would turn our stomachs will be perfectly good dog food. Shoot a squirrel or gopher and they will eat the whole thing pelt and all. Also horse droppings are a preferred treat of my German shepherd, any rats or mice trapped will fill the dish as well. Also the “don’t feed your dog chicken bones” is a myth, I’ve fed them for years to my canines.
    Lastly I don’t expect “hoards” of survivors in any SHTF scenario after the first 60 days. Once electricity and water are off the riots, lawlessness, then disease that follow will kill 80% of the population in 2 months. The more rural you are the less die off but the more likely the survivors are self sufficient from the start.
    I plan to block road access into my area, organize my neighbors, and sit tight for two months. I fear FEMA more than gangs and thugs.

    • Montana Rancher,
      I too love the bucket idea. It would be much more useful. I haven’t gotten to the point that I have any to spare. I use them all. For everything. Until they break. LOL. They are expensive to buy for charity. I haven’t found any with lids that are free yet.

      My dogs also love all kinds of poo for treats. I hadn’t thought to feed trapped mice for dogs! Great idea. My cats are all killer barn cats, they can fend for themselves. If I could only convince the cats to share with the dogs…….
      I don’t feed chcken bones, but they sneak them all the time. I once had to dig a fish bone stuck sideways in dogs throat with hemostats. My husband was bloody, the dog and I had to have a shot of whiskey afterward, it was so tramatic.
      We plan to block off our roads (3) and have already made a plan with our neighbors. I still expect trouble from gangs and FEMA.

    • I would think a 5 gallon bucket would be awfully heavy to cart around, wouldn’t it? I have found 2 to 3 gallon buckets at stores that make cakes. The frosting comes in them. They come with tops. A mess to clean, but worth it. I got them free for the taking but you have to ask for them. Ask them to save them for you as they usually just toss them in the trash. If you came buy on a regular basis, say every Tuesday, they would be more willing to save them for you and not toss when empty.

      • Encourager,
        I also get the frosting buckets already cleaned out from a Krogers Bakery. They charge 2.00 a peice. Our town is small. I can’t find buckets for free. They are nice, sturdy, big and wide. 3 gallons and they don’t stink.
        I will use some of these and continue to use some backpacks. You can’t carry a baby or toddler and a bucket for very long. Something needs to be in a backpack.

  20. God bless you and yours, Mama J. After reading your article and the excellent ideas you shared, I was encouraged and uplifted. Idealistic? I prefer the term Christian.

    After reading some of the comments, however, I was frankly quite appalled. If we cannot even think about helping others, then we are reduced to the level of animals. What, then, is the point of even living?

    Our time on this earth is short, but eternity is forever.

    “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mat 10:42)

  21. I wrote this as a request from a fellow Pack Member. I had no idea it would so fun. Thanks for all the great comments on this article. I had a couple snarks and a troll (don’t feed the trolls), but no one got out of hand. Some things that I have learned from the comments on this post.

    Buckets would be a great (better) alternative to backpacks.
    Don’t forget can openers.
    Pool shock in the appropiate containers would be better than bleach for water purification.
    You can reuse Starbucks bags!
    Some people don’t read the whole article before giving bad advise.
    Some people simply are not open to giving to others for fear that they will be taken advantage of.
    Do not under any circumstances give anyone anything from our own home.
    Don’t be charitable then allow someone to follow you home.
    Children can and will be used as decoys in a SHTF situation. Beware of stray needy children.
    Some people have the same thoughts as I do. I will get really really bad for months before it gets better. Worse than most can imagine. The smell of death will be everywhere.
    Don’t forget the hungry pets. I think some people would give their own food to pets. Ug, I typed that looked at the sentence above and then thought about dogs eating the dead people. Ack. Spit. Then I had a visual about playing fetch…..never mind.
    Dogs love poo treats and can eat anything, except Chinese dog food. Should WE be eating Chinese food?
    Love the Pack!

  22. Mama J, you are an inspiration. I buy a little for the local food pantry and rotate my cans to them, but hadn’t really thought to squirrel away kits for the future needy. Our church makes hygiene packs for homeless vets in Austin, and I got a couple of new ideas from your lists. Thanks. Also, I got 3 very sturdy buckets with nice, tight lids free this week from the bakery dept. of our local big grocery store. A couple of years ago, a friend directed me to a little ice cream company in town that sold their (flimsier) buckets for a very small price. No harm in askin’!

  23. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Mama J,
    As always, you have done an excellent job.

  24. I often see 5 gallon buckets along the road that have fallen out of the back of pickups. You stop when it’s safe and you’re helping with the environment as well. Most aren’t to clean but a good bucket is always handy for tools, dirt, feed, water transfer, or flipped over a stool. Most clean new buckets at the feed stores are 4-5 dollars. Pretty steep price to give away. I also use my buckets that I find on the road to water my fruit trees and garden plants. Drill a 1/8th hole in the side of the bucket as close to the bottom as possible. Fill with hose and it trickles out over a relatively long period of time. Beats standing there with a hose when you could be doing something else

  25. Great article, Mama J. Thank you so much for all of your hard work on it. And the lists you included!

  26. LyndaKay says:

    What a kind and thoughtful woman you are!

  27. WOW! Love these ideas! I have felt for sometime I should be prepping enough so that I could help others when the need arises. But I never thought about doing it this way! Thank you so much for the insight on how to help others and not deplete what you need for your own family!

  28. You might want to make two kinds of charity packs – one for men and one for women. The men’s pack could include a disposable razor and the women’s pack could include sanitary napkins or tampons. Either gender would appreciate a Chapstick and a small bottle of lotion. I suspect that any homeless or displaced person would also appreciate a clean pair of socks since he or she likely will spend a lot of time walking or standing in line and foot care is highly important when walking is your only mode of transport.

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