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Week 29 of 52: Charity

In our 29th week of this series, we will discuss the contoversial topic of giving charity during an extended emergency.

Within each of us is an innate need to be compassionate towards our fellow man. With December being the most celebrated month of the year, it is equally the most altruistic. We tend to give more during this time because no one likes to see suffering while they are celebrating. Further, when we give to our brothers and sisters in need, we feel generous and kind-hearted.

Preppers tend to find themselves in conflict over the subject of charity during an extended disaster. Although many want to help, there is a large concern with drawing unnecessary attention to oneself when lending a hand. In regards to the unprepared, many believe that desperation knows no boundaries. If a person were desperate enough, they may not only want the hand out you are giving them, but the “whole enchilada.” Many fear that the unprepared would make attempts to overtake your home to get to all of the supplies, or get a group together to attack your home.  A person can never be too paranoid in a situation like this.

Many believe that helping others is not only the right thing to do, but may help improve your own survival situation. Of course, if you help the wrong person out they may come back and take the rest of what you have at any means necessary to get it. But if you help the right person out, they may be there to help you out when that wrong person comes knocking for more supplies. I believe that many of us are “cut from the same cloth” so-to-speak as far as our believe systems go, and will feel compelled to help our fellow man when the right situation presents itself. Being spiritually and mentally equipped to handle those asking for charity can help you feel less conflicted.

Those that are at odds with how they could provide charity and still maintain good OPSEC  and keep a secure home at the same time can take alternative measures to ensure their safety. To put it simply if you want to help those in need, ensure that you take measures to provide charity inconspicuously and anonymously. This can be achieved by going through a third party to give out the charity to eliminate the danger involved in  face-to-face donations and blowing your operational security.  This method would also eliminate the risk of people knowing that you made a donation and risk others spreading the word around that you have extra supplies at your disposal.  A third party could be a member of a church, a charitable organization, a friend or family member.  For example, you could drop the donation off at the church door with a note asking that the donation be given to someone who could benefit the most from the charitable donation. Further, if someone comes by your property asking for help, you can direct them to the church or organization that you donated to.

Ensuring the well-being and safety of your family is the reason why you are getting prepped in the first place. In my humble opinion, before any charity occurs, ensure that your family has enough to survive before giving away precious supplies. Further, we never know how long a disaster can last, so keep this in mind before you decide to provide charity. (To gauge how much food your family needs for extended emergencies, use the food calculator at Ready Nutrition.) If you are fortunate enough to have any extra supplies consider setting the charitable items aside in a separate location from your family’s supplies. This will keep your supplies more organized. For the most part, keep the basic survival needs in mind when setting aside items for charity. Basic survival items such as food, water, baby supplies (diapers, formula), medical supplies, blankets, etc.

In all honesty, if you are not in an isolated area, it would be very difficult to ignore those in need. Survival during a long term disaster depends not only on making the right choice, but the smart choice that is right for your family. And we all know that sometimes the smart choice is the hardest one to make. I am not here to tell any of you that providing charity is right or wrong. I am simply trying to present both sides of this preparedness issue. 

Action Items:

  1.  Use the food calculator at Ready Nutrition to determine how much food you have for an extended disaster.
  2. If you are planning on storing charitable items, store them away from your family’s supplies to ensure they do not get mixed in.
  3. When purchasing charitable items, keep the basic survival needs in mind.

Preps to Buy:

  • Canned goods of soups, stews, vegetables or fruit
  • Boxes or cereal
  • Dry goods (rice, beans, oats, etc.)
  • Water
  • Jars of peanut butter
  • Protein bars
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Infant formula
  • Infant cereal
  • Baby food
  • Powdered milk
  • Protein/calorie drinks
  • Soap
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Medical supplies 
  • Pocket bibles

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on December 24th, 2011