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You must decide, "Will you or won't you"

In my recent book, "Hope For Survival" one of the topics I discussed is "what I think I will do" when confronted with feeding the unprepared. I must admit to you, this is a hard one. A part of me thinks I will walk the hardline path and turn them away. Another part of me struggles with it. Why? When one has lived on the other side and lived a portion of life "hungry" then it is hard to think of someone being hungry. And over the years, my wife and I have very often done things to help individual families who are struggling to ensure they had food. The hardline approach says that was then and this is now.


Example, I planned for a family of four and now have eight living off my preparations to cover fifteen days. My fifteen day supply is now cut in half. So, I now have seven days of supplies for eight people and then what? If the family you are feeding did not prepare, what makes you think on day eight they will leave and help find additional food to help feed all eight individuals? My guess minimal to zero effort. Before I go forward, I ask myself this question. What if I lose everything and now the role is reversed. Would I expect others to now feed you? Feeding strangers or others is one part of prepping that is sometimes overlooked or not given the consideration it deserves.

The question to you is what you will do when someone comes knocking on your door? I am not talking about the wondering stranger, I am talking about close family members that may or may not know you are prepping. Have you asked yourself and thought about it very seriously? Who would you turn away, and what extended family members would you help out in a disaster or collapse of the system as we know it?

If you decide to allow additional mouths to now occupy a place around your family table it is only the first step. Now you need to think about how you are going to handle the situation of having extra mouths to feed. This is all dependent on whether you decide to help them or turn them away. How will you decide who to allow and who to deny when they all are blood related family members?

Personally I have my own plan that I hope will work and depending how long after the disaster they arrive will determine my exact response to their needs. Remember, you most likely do not know where they are coming from or what they have been exposed to before arriving to your home. Have you considered any form of a quarantine to ensure individuals are not contaminated?

How would you decide who could stay and who needed to go away? This is a tough question, but it's one we really need to put a lot of thought into. Deciding on who would make the cut could be the difference between surviving and thriving. Maybe ask yourself these questions. How close are they? It is just not feasible to think that you can bring everyone in to your home. And then consider who your family may bring with them. Many can barely afford to get ourselves prepared. Like it or not, we are going to have to figure out how to say "I just can't do it" 2. What is my Family's Opinion? You may want to have a round table discussion with your key family members you plan to feed within your home and discuss and debate who you will or won't feed. I would be careful to openly discuss your food preparations with too many people. A child may innocently tell their friends you have food stocked. You are now a target.

Have a conversation now with your family about who would stay and why. Try to put personal feelings aside and come to a rational conclusion about whether they would be an asset or a hindrance to your survival plan. Also, try not to get into an argument when you're talking about this.

How Helpful Have They Been? During your conversation with your family your past experiences with this person are bound to come up. What is their personality like? And how has your past relationship been? Bottom line should be what does the person(s) bring to your plan? Are they helpful or a hindrance? How long can you tolerate the person within the confines of your home? Especially if they start to break down the foundation you established before the disaster.

How Helpful Would They Be? If they can't contribute something to the group how can you justify them eating up your prepared meals

What Challenges Do They Bring? Just as important as thinking about what they bring to the table is what they will be taking from the table. The truth is that any time you add someone to the equation the situation becomes more complicated, and sometimes the negatives outweigh the positives so much you may need to make that tough decision. Do not allow an outsider, family or not, to break down your plans previously established. As much as it drives me nuts knowing that I shouldn't have to prepare for someone who doesn't see why it's important, I do understand that I might have to deal with it. Another problem with breaking your plan is individuals leaving your home and spreading word they received food from you, at your residence.

Now, game on. You are the new food bank. You better think about it and have a plan in place. How much extra do you prepare? Because we can only do what we can do, and sometimes storage space and money are limited I think more along the lines of "how can they make my situation better?" Maybe saying that you should turn this into a positive is a little optimistic, but at least try to make it a little less negative.

Storing extra beans, rice, flour and dry goods will go a long way and give you the basics you will need, but at some point it will run out. Have plans in place to use them like you would an employee, start thinking like a post collapse CEO. Set the guidelines and expectations from day one. You need to let them know that if you are going to let them stay there for however long that might be you expect them to help.

What is impossible for 2 or 3 people to do in a day might be possible with more people, expanding the garden, foraging, hunting, raising more animals for food and building/repairing will become more possible with more people. I personally set aside some food I plan to use for those unprepared individuals. Each circumstance will determine how I use the extra food items and where I will use it. It won't be near my home. That is for certain.

The tough talk you don't want to have: At first we might need to lower our expectations because most unprepared people will try to hold on to their reality as long as possible, they will be like junkies going through withdraws. This is why it's important to set your expectations from day one. You might hear things like "why are you rationing the water? This will be over in a day or two?" or "Look at all this food, were going to eat like kings!" These people might have no idea what we could be in for, and need to be set straight before it becomes a problem. The thought of these comments reminds me of the hundreds of times I have heard "why prepare, I will come to your house." Yea, well, that is not going to happen.

At some point it might become necessary to have the tough conversation because people will tell you whatever you want to hear to get your help, but if they are not holding up their end of the bargain you might have to have the tough conversation neither one of you want to have. The conversation may go something like this... "This is what you told me you would do when you came here, and this is what you are actually doing (or not doing), how are we going to fix this? Does this mean you need to go? Or are you going to get onboard and pull your weight?"

Problems like these are bound to happen, and these are situations we need to be able to face, otherwise disappearing and not letting people know where you are might be the better option. What say you?

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Butch Erskine
Butch Erskine
Apr 23, 2019

JC - Thanks for your reply and comment. Agree totally, this is a topic that can be discussed till the decision has to be made, then what will we do? So many factors to thing about ongoing. What if your area has been calm and no one has approached your home till now? What if it is family who led strangers to your home because they have been threatened and this was to save a family members life? Maybe you helped a neighbor who now has sold you out? We may only get one chance to get it right. You may need the manpower and support to keep your property safe and managed and the extra help will be…


My wife and I have been discussing this topic for a couple of days. It is a tough debate. I hate to see anyone go without, but more importantly, I do not want my wife and kids to go without. However, numbers can provide opportunities to grow your supplies through gardening and other means. If they can "pull their weight". My feelings on this change almost daily. And your comment on having a plan in place ahead of time is a good idea. I think too, knowing your neighbors well ahead of time will help you see who you may or may not be able to bring into your home. The internal debate goes on...

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