Start an Emergency Food Pantry
On This Episode:
For Centuries, food pantries were an essential space in every household. Weekly trips to the market were impractical or impossible, and families relied on their pantries to get them through the lean winter months.
Today, most people live a short drive away from the grocery store, so organizing a home food pantry might seem unnecessary.
One of the biggest benefits of a home food pantry is that it enables you to prepare for short- and long-term emergencies. There are many scenarios that could make it difficult or impossible to go to the grocery store.
It’s important to realize that food shortages can happen anywhere, at any time, even if your area is not experiencing an emergency. Most grocery stores only have enough food on hand to meet the needs of their community for three days, sometimes even less. If something happens to disrupt the food supply chain, this means that your local market could run out of food very quickly.
In this episode, we’ll discuss how you can start your emergency food pantry!
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Start an Emergency Food Pantry
For centuries, food pantries were in a central space, and for every household, weekly trips to the market were impractical or impossible, and families relied on their pantries to get them through the lean winter months. Today, most people live a short drive away from the grocery store so organizing a food pantry might seem unnecessary. One of the biggest benefits of a Home Food Pantry is that it enables you to prepare for short and long term emergencies. There are many scenarios that could make it difficult or impossible to go to the grocery store. It's important to realize that food shortages can happen anywhere at any time. Even if your area is not experiencing an emergency. Most grocery stores only have enough food on hand to meet the needs of their community for 3 days, sometimes even less. If something happens to disrupt the food supply chain, this means your local market could run out of food very quickly.
In today's episode, we're going to talk about how you can start your own home food pantry.
Welcome to typical prepping the podcast dedicated to everyday readiness and disaster preparedness. We're here to help those folks who seek to start their own disaster preparedness plan or those who have gotten started but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps. Each week I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen today.
Hi, folks. I'm Keith and welcome to typical prepping. In today's episode, we'll be discussing how to start a food pantry for your household.
The Food Pantry is an integral part of your overall emergency preparedness plan. If you have ever experienced empty shelves at the supermarket just before a storm or Blizzard, that you know how important a food pantry can be to the health and safety of you and your family. I've outlined some important considerations and made some suggestions for you to start an emergency food pantry.
The first thing you should do is consider where you will store your food stockpile. Look for these features in a food storage place.
It needs to be airy with good ventilation. No direct sunlight. It needs to be temperature-controlled and the temperature needs to be below 80 degrees Fahrenheit 70 degrees or lower, which will make your food last a lot longer. And if possible pest-free
. Some suggested places that can make suitable food storage areas are A basement A root cellar, A spare bedroom, A closet, A kitchen pantry, Under your beds, Behind clothes in the closet, Or linen closets.
Now before you begin to build your food storage supply, the first step is to track your food usage daily for 30 days. Every time you use a food item or ingredient, write it down on a notepad. It doesn't matter how much you use, just write it down. Include condiments, spices, as well as the main food ingredients. The list you come up with will tell you what foods you and your family eat on a regular basis. This will be the list you will base your food storage plan on. The next step is to take inventory of what you have in your pantry freezer and refrigerator. Now based on the list of foods you now know you use to calculate how many meals you have based on the number of people in your household. This should give you a pretty accurate count of the number of meals you currently have on hand and how long your current supplies will last.
As an example, let's say you find out that you have about three days worth of food. Should the disaster occur right now, You would run out of food in three days. If the stores are closed or you can't get there and you have nothing else stored away. Your family will begin to grow hungry. This is what we're trying to avoid. You will need to build an emergency food pantry in addition to what you already have. Knowing exactly what your family eats, you're already ahead of the game.
Don't make the mistake of buying food items because you have a coupon or because it's on sale, only to find out your family won't eat these items. Choose the foods you and your family eat on a regular basis and don't forget snack foods like cookies, brownies, or popcorn. Part of the idea here is to restore some sense of normalcy to a chaotic situation. This serves to calm nerves and boost morale.
The trick to stockpiling food is to buy supplies when they're on sale, and then don't buy them again until they go back on sale. Take advantage of coupons and rebates on foods you're already planning to buy. You may also find small discount markets in your area that carry non-name-brand items that are much cheaper in price. You should sample some of these foods. I found some that tastes better than the name brand and others that weren't worth the savings. Even if an emergency doesn't happen, you will reap the benefits of stockpiling with reduced household expenses, once your plan is underway.
It is possible to start an emergency food pantry for $10 a week. It may be intimidating to think about storing enough food for the family to last several months. However, you don't have to jump into a six-month food supply. Start small and stockpile enough food to last for two weeks. Most families will find they already have enough food on hand for one week. Just gradually add to the food you already have stored when you make your weekly or bi-weekly grocery shopping trip. In addition to your normal grocery list, pick up two or three additional items for your emergency stash. You can decide in advance how much money you want to spend on your food storage. For about $10 you can pick up three or four canned foods, a small bag of rice, and a bag of beans.
Be sure to always check on weekly sales. Use coupons to keep you on budget and use cashback savings when possible. Make sure you choose foods your family likes and will keep well in storage.
The following foods should provide some variety and keep well in storage.
For meats; There's chicken, salmon, tuna, corned beef, and spam.
Canned fruit would include fruit cocktail, Mandarin oranges, peaches, and pineapples.
Canned vegetables such as corn and green beans.
And starches such as cereal, crackers, flour, granola bars, pasta, ramen noodles, and rice.
Some prepared meals that you may consider are canned pasta, canned soups, macaroni and cheese, and nonrefrigerated pre-pack meals.
Condiments would include honey, jelly or jam, peanut butter, pepper, salt, sugar, syrup, and spices.
Keep buying a few extra items and in no time, you will have a two week supply of food. Continuing until you have a month's worth of food. It's a good idea to keep up your food storage efforts until you have at least three to six months of food stored. Considering your available space and your comfort level, It is entirely up to you as to how much food you set aside.
As you begin to buy and stock your emergency food pantry, make a note of the expiration dates. Expiration dates are printed on the container by the manufacturer. However, these dates can be small and in inconspicuous areas of the container. Using a marker such as a sharpie, find the date on the container and use the marker to write the expiration date large enough to be seen when you use the foods from the pantry or you conduct a monthly inventory check. Be sure to move older foods to the front to be used first. If you have foods in which the dates are getting close to expiration, you can either use them immediately or donate them to your local food bank.
You should also consider stocking dehydrated or freeze-dried foods or meals. These can be purchased in individual portions, or they can be purchased in kits for three days to one or two years supplies. These kits usually come prepackaged in a five-gallon plastic pail. Most have an extremely long shelf life up to 25 years.
Now that we've gone over the basics of building a food pantry, let's talk about some of the do's and don'ts before we conclude. Without electricity or cold stores, food stored in refrigerators and freezers can become unsafe. bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. And if these foods are consumed, you can become very sick. Thawed food usually can be eaten if it is still refrigerator cold. It can be refrozen if it still contains ice crystals. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!
Some of the do's: Keep food in covered containers. Keep cooking and eating utensils clean. Throw away any food that has come into contact with contaminated floodwater. Throw away any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more. Throw away any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. Use ready to feed formula. If you must mix infant formula use bottled water or boiled water as a last resort.
And don't eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented, or corroded. Even though the product may look safe to eat, and don't eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the cane looks normal. And don't let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation reasons.
As you can see, with some common sense and a bit of creativity started a food pantry doesn't have to be difficult or challenging. Just follow the steps. track what you eat, by what you eat, stockpile, and rotate your food stock. It's that easy.
That's it for this week. Thanks for listening. And join me on next week's episode when the topic will be situational awareness, the art of observation, In that episode, I'll be discussing how you can get started improving your skills of situational awareness.
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