Saturday, December 31, 2011

Metal shelves to maximize food storage space

I recently bought a few metal shelving units from Menards to give me more vertical space for an ever-increasing batch of canned goods, and let me tell you, having sturdy shelves is making a huge difference. The combined weight of myriad cases of canned goods was becoming a worry for my original storage shelves, but these metal units are up to the task and are a huge help for my pantry organization.

The first photo below is of some of the shelves I'd already had set up, and as you can see I've arranged them at right angles to each other to get the maximum amount of shelf space relative to the floor area available for the shelves. As an example, eight shelf units that are four feet long and one foot deep can be set up at right angles in a long row of connected units so that you could fit those eight units in a 5-by-16-foot area--bolt four shelves together side by side (which would span 16 feet in length) and then bolt each of the remaining shelves perpendicular to the left end of the shelves that are parallel to the wall. (The shelves that are parallel to the wall are a foot deep and the shelves that are perpendicular to those shelves are four feet wide, for a total depth of five feet, and the four 4-foot-long shelves are 16 feet long when bolted together.)

In the second photo, hopefully you can see the depth of the storage area to give you an idea of how much you can potentially stock up in what may look like a small area. Shelves are one of your best friends when it comes to creating space for food storage.

I hope this helps you expand your pantry no matter how small it looks!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Black Friday pandemonium--just wait until people fight over IMPORTANT stuff!

Working 70-hours a week (praise the Lord that I have a job!) has continued to hamper my efforts to write an article recently, but I thought that a recent column by Kellene Bishop on was spot-on and deserves to be read. I'm not sure if she allows her posts to be copied on other sites, but here's a link to her article:

This sort of uncivil behavior by desperate crowds should be incentive enough for anyone to stock up on food and other necessary items yesterday, if not sooner. If...or maybe when...the desperation comes to your town, if you have what you need at home, you won't have to put yourself or your family at risk by going out in the chaos to get what you need--if it's still there when you get there. A word to the wise...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stocking up now keeps you out of the chaos later

I could wax political on the Occupy Wall Street chaos that seems to be popping up in a lot of places, but the only point I'll make, for the sake of keeping this blog apolitical, is this: If the economy keeps getting worse--and quite frankly, I can't see it getting better, given our federal government's trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see--the last place you want to be is in the midst of angry and/or hungry mobs. Stocking up on as much food as possible now while there's plenty on the shelves and no angry mobs fighting over the last can of whatever means you won't be putting your own safety and sustenance at risk down the road. I have enough food to feed my family for several months, and worst-case scenario, if there was nothing left on the store shelves tomorrow, all we'd really have to do without is fresh dairy products. You don't want to be in stores when people start fighting over stuff...unless you want to put yourself at risk, which I really wouldn't advise. I think Proverbs 27:12 applies very well here:

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

What are you waiting for? Stock up while you can still do so safely.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why stock up now? Because prices are going up

I just saw this article that illustrates why it makes sense to stock up now while food is readily available at relatively low prices:

Gas, food and clothing prices are on the rise

And I don't think it's a stretch to say that as prices start to rise rapidly, people will increase the pace at which they buy food, thus depleting the supply of available food and causing prices to rise even further--it's simply the law of supply and demand.

I bought a case of coffee several months ago for $3.38 a package. The coffee I usually buy is now $3.88 a package. But since I bought it at $3.38, I won't have to pay more for what I've already bought. I locked in low prices by buying the coffee before prices went up. And since, according to the above article (and hundreds of others), prices on food and other necessities are rising, some rapidly, what's your excuse for not buying what you need now while you can still get it for less?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stocking up by starting small and being persistent

In lieu of new posts that I'm struggling to find time to write at the moment (knock on wood that I've gone from losing my job in April to now having two jobs), I hope that a repost below of my "5 percent rule" might offer encouragement to those of you who are having trouble getting started stocking up.

As I stated in my first post on this blog, if you set aside just 5 percent of your take-home pay and use that money to build up your food storage pantry, you can build up a pretty good surplus in a relatively short amount of time.

Let's say that 5 percent of your take-home pay is $25. Last fall I did a little research on how much could be bought for $25 at that time among the items I stock up on as part of my storage pantry:

25 lbs. of frozen carrots at Walmart (which I dehydrate and store in mason jars)


17 lbs. of frozen spinach at Walmart (which I also dehydrate and store in mason jars)


50 lbs. of rice at Sam’s Club (with about $9 leftover)


30 lbs. of dry beans at Sam’s Club


18 cans of canned mackerel at Walmart


4 6-gallon cases of bottled water (because without water, you'll die)


7 cans of Cafe Bustelo coffee at Walmart (coffee is my daily treat to myself and also helps keep my asthma from flaring up--see the letter at the bottom of the page at this link)


a 400-count bottle of naproxen at Sam’s Club (with about $8 leftover)


10 paperback NIV New Testaments (because man doesn’t live by bread alone--Luke 4:4)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

YouTube videos on food storage to help you get started

I'm gratefully busy enough now that I have a second job that I probably won't have time to write much for a few weeks, but I thought this link to food storage videos on YouTube might help some of you with your food storage efforts, or hopefully encourage you to get started ASAP:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's hard to put food on the table or in the deep pantry if you don't want to work

I guess if there's one gripe I have about my new job, it's not the long hours--it's that so many people there seem willing to not work. It's a factory job, and there's no guarantee from one day to the next that there will be enough work for all employees on any given shift. Last Monday, 15 minutes after the 100+ employees on our shift clocked in, the supervisor came around and said that she only needed about 20 people and asked for volunteers to leave. More than 70 people volunteered right then to go home. I don't know about you, but I can't afford to not work, and I don't know how anyone else can, either. Especially when it comes to long-term planning with food storage and any other such preparedness efforts, diligence in working or looking for work is imperative. Without such diligence, you're going to get really hungry very soon.

End of rant. My alarm is going off in less than six hours, so I need to get some sleep. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. ;)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Being prepared keeps you from having to rely on "the system"

As an addendum to my past few posts, I've had several people comment to me over the past several weeks since I lost my previous job that I should've applied for food stamps after I lost my job, since I'd obviously paid into the system and was now in need. A few people I know only in online forums (primarily preparation/food storage-related sites) have said that while it's great that my family has enough food for several months, this might not be the ultimate "stuff hits the fan" scenario for me, so instead of depleting my deep pantry, they said, I should apply for all possible aid that I was eligible for, since I'd "earned" it.

Someone needs to get a lesson or six in zero-sum economics.

And they need to learn what real hunger is like (as I did 13 years ago) and take steps to prevent it in the first place (as I have been doing since that time).

You'd have to be living on Pluto to not realize that the world in general and the U.S. in particular are in dire financial shape right now. The bottom line is that there just isn't enough money for all the needs, much less all the wants, that people have. More and more people are going hungry and turning to food banks and the charity of others to help fill their stomachs, and government dollars are drying up as millions more people apply for food stamps and other such aid. I could go on and on about the federal government's reckless printing of money out of thin air, but since states, cities, families and individuals have to live within their means or go bankrupt, I'll just make this point again: Since "the system" doesn't have the means to take care of you, you need to do all you can to take care of yourself and your family.

Sure, in theory I could apply for food stamps, but that would take resources away from people who are truly destitute, who don't have food in the house in the first place. Sure, I've paid into the system and I've "earned" the right to apply for food stamps...but is it moral to take the means to buy food away from others who have no food at all when I have enough food to feed my family for several months? I've "earned" this right by paying into the system, but just because I have this "right," does this mean that it's moral or Biblical for me to do this just because I've "earned" it? There's no way in good conscience I can do this--I'd be like a rich man robbing a bank because he didn't feel rich enough. Meanwhile, more people go hungry because I've taken what I'm entitled to, even though I don't need it and they do. Those of you who have been hungry before know the misery I went through so many years ago. Millions of people in this country are going through that same misery at this moment. What would Jesus do? He'd help feed the hungry, not take food away from them. I might be broke, but I've got food. And I'm in a position to help hungry people. I hope you will find those opportunities as well no matter what you're "entitled" to.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Are we thankful for what we have or resentful for what we don't have?

One thing I've learned in my almost 25 years of following Christ (Friday is my spiritual birthday) is that you can't teach gratitude--it has to come from within. As I mentioned on here a little over a month ago, I'd just lost my job, but thanks to a couple years of diligent food storage efforts, my family won't have to worry about food for several months. I started a new job almost two weeks ago, and I'm very grateful for it. The downside at the moment is that while it's a full-time job, I took a significant pay cut from my previous job and the wages at my new job will cover everything except gas and food costs. Now, I could be ungrateful for the fact that I'm shorter on cash than I'd like to be, but I have a little bit of cash to fall back on and, to emphasize the point again, no trips to the grocery will be needed for several months except for milk and (until we start making our own) bread, because we have plenty of food on hand. Now, at some point, our income will have to exceed our expenses, or else our reserves will be depleted--so from the perspectives of some people, I'd have every right to be upset. But let's think back to basic math--half of something is more than nothing, right? I'd rather have a job at half of my previous salary than nothing at all! Keeping at least some cash flowing in is stemming the financial blood loss, so to speak, and I'm very grateful for that!

Some people at my new place of work aren't so happy about the job, though. I'd never worked in a factory until now, and it's been a bit more strenuous physically than I'd anticipated. But because of that, I've slept really well at night the past couple weeks because I've been really tired! But I've been hearing one person after another at the factory say that they hate their jobs, with one man yesterday emphasizing his feelings about his job by frequent use of a four-letter F-word. (You'll have to take my word for it that his word of choice was not "fine"!) So as I'm standing there across the line from him putting our widgets together, I'm thinking to myself, "Dude, would you rather be unemployed and have even less money and less food?"

Remember that I mentioned in my first post a few months ago that I've been really hungry before and don't want to be hungry like that again? I'm guessing that this guy didn't get the memo! I've had a number of jobs that I really haven't liked, but I disliked starving more than I disliked my job! But then it all goes back to gratitude, which can't be taught or conditioned--it has to come from Christ. Take a look at what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:10-13:

"I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

You can have all the "stuff" in the world and still not have peace. But you can also be destitute and in abject poverty, but still have Christ's peace inside. It's not a matter of whether your cup is half empty or half full--it's a matter of Who is filling your cup! If Christ is not the one who is giving you strength and peace, then you don't have strength and peace--you have an imposter. But if He is the one filling you from the inside out, who or what in this world can stop it or take it away from you?

I'm thankful for my new job. I'm thankful for a family that loves me. But most importantly, I'm thankful for God's grace through Christ in my life, even though I don't deserve it. I'll update you guys soon on what the Lord is doing in my new job and in this next stage of my life. In the meantime, what is He doing in yours?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Breakfast from our food storage

My family has basically two levels of food storage--what we normally eat and have a lot of in our kitchen and extended pantry, and what we normally eat and have EVEN MORE of in what I've heard referred to as our deep larder. And it just makes sense that for your food storage, you should stock up large quantities of what you normally eat anyway, because why would you stock up on stuff you don't eat??

So with that in mind, having plenty of food on hand has paid off this past week while I've still been jobless (but praise the Lord, I start a new job Tuesday!), because even though we've had very little cash to spare the past couple weeks, we haven't had to set foot in a grocery store because we have plenty of food to draw from.

Some people might think "food storage" sounds boring and not especially tasty, but if you're storing what you normally eat anyway, why shouldn't it be? So I thought I'd share a photo of breakfast this morning--oatmeal with dehydrated banana chips (I buy my banana chips at Add a touch of honey, and talk about a yummy breakfast!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stocking up on medications

Here's a post from the Archives that I think would help a lot of people. It's easy to stock up on food, but what about prescription medicines? I think this has taken on particular importance to me this week, now that I'm officially without health insurance until I land a new job, and I know I'm not the only one in such a situation.

I think it's also important to remember to stock up on vitamins and other supplements as well--you need to make sure you're getting all of the necessary nutrients, especially during high-stress periods. We've got extra bottles vitamin C and plenty of fish-oil capsules, as well as men's and women's vitamins for me and the missus.

In the event of personal, local or national emergencies or other natural or manmade disasters, if you’re like millions of people who must take various medications on a regular basis, you might be out of luck if something happens and keeps your medicines from getting to the store shelves. Many people’s quality of life would be severely diminished if they couldn’t get their medicine, so having an ample stockpile of drugs that aren’t controlled substances is just common sense.

I realize that a lot of people either don’t have insurance and have trouble paying out-of-pocket for more than a month’s supply of any particular medication at one time, or whatever medications they take might be subject to DEA restrictions on how much of the drug they can be prescribed within a particular time frame. So for what it’s worth, I’ll share my approach to stocking up on the meds I need every day and hope it might help you as well.

Rule #1 should be obvious: Talk to your doctor. Depending on the medication you’re on and your drug plan, your doctor may be able to increase the authorized dosage and/or number of pills for certain medications that aren’t controlled substances to allow you to build up a surplus.

I’m on an old-school antidepressant (nortriptylene) as a migraine preventive, which works rather well — I’ve been on it for about two years. I take 50 mg. at bedtime. My neurologist had originally written the prescription for up to 100 mg. Once I realized that 50 mg. was keeping my migraines in check, I kept getting refills on the same day each month and just put the new refills behind the older ones — first in, first out. At my six-month followup appointment, I told my doctor that 50 mg. was doing the trick but asked her if she could keep my prescription written for 100 mg. so that I could build up a surplus just in case of job loss or anything else, I told her. Since nortriptylene isn’t a controlled substance, she said she’d be willing to do that. I have 13 months worth of nortriptylene in my medicine cabinet at the moment.

The only other meds I take on a regular basis are Claritin for allergies (I’m allergic to cats but have two cats anyway — they adopted me) and I take 800 mg. of generic Aleve every night at bedtime for my fibromyalgia. I got four 60-tablet bottles of generic Claritin at Walmart for about $25, enough to last about eight months, and I don’t remember exactly how much the generic Aleve was at Sam’s Club, but I got three 400-count bottles for less than $50, and that’ll last me about 10 months. I also take 1000 mg. of Vitamin C every night at bedtime and got a big bottle of that as well at Sam’s Club (gotta keep my immune system in good shape).

I’d be interested in hearing from any of you who’ve also talked to your doctor about stocking up on medications. And be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about the shelf life of your medications, to make sure they will be safe if stored for an extended period.

For those of who who are medical practitioners, I’d be interested in hearing your ideas and perspectives as well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Looks like my pantry is going to be paying off...unfortunately

I say "unfortunately" because although my wife and I have enough food on hand to sustain us for several months, we're going to have to tap into our extended pantry due to my losing my job today. I'd really appreciate everyone's prayers as I'm starting the job search. In the meantime, it looks like we're going to have a lot of homemade soup with our rice and beans! Please keep us in your prayers, and I'll post an update on here hopefully soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Great post on spiritual survival

I think it's fitting with today being Easter that we stop for a minute to think about the "big picture" of our preparations for hard times--it's not what we have, it's Who we serve and what He does in our lives to make us more like Himself to draw others to Him.
What is the big picture? What is the point of it all - all the hours of prepping, all the hard work, researching and sacrifices? To get to Heaven, where “no eye has seen, no ear heard what the Lord has prepared for the who loves him.” See that?! the Lord prepares too! but He is preparing for our coming home. Heaven is our true home and we are but pilgrims on our journey home. He is planning a big home-coming party for us. He is preparing a place for us and He wants us to be with him forever. “And when I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:3-4

Click here to read the entire post at

Have a wonderful Resurrection Day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Beans, beans, the musical seeds, the more you plant, the more you'll feed!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Shakespeare when it comes to poetry, but I'm guessing that Shakespeare never wrote about beans, so hopefully we can call it even. :) I went to the store this morning to pick up another 40 pounds of beans for the storage pantry but decided it'd be good to set these aside for future planting and/or sprouting. It can be easy to forget that beans are also seeds, but since they are, they can be planted to yield more food down the road. How cool is it that you can buy a 20-pound bag of beans for about $20 and also have the potential for a huge garden harvest later from those beans? Sounds like a great recipe for survival, and just plain smart from a food-storage standpoint.

One thing you DON'T want to do, however, is if you're planning to use beans to plant later, you absolutely should not vacuum-seal them. Remember that since they are seeds, beans are also living organisms, and vacuum-sealing them will essentially kill them. They'll still be edible for a long time, of course, but they just won't grow and produce more beans after you've vacuum-sealed them. The 40 pounds of beans filled up two 12-jar cases of mason jars (again, don't vacuum-seal the jars), and now those jars are in a cool, dark place until I'm ready to plant them. Have any of you used any of your beans from your food storage for sprouting and/or planting? I'd be interested to hear your stories of storing and growing your own food using beans.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's surprising how little food is on grocery store shelves

The original site for the post below is about to go offline, so I'm reposting the following article. I hope this will be eye-opening and will compel those of you who've been waiting to stock up to stock up now while you still can. If you don't stock up or add to your food storage now, but decide to wait until later, you might not get what you need when you need it.

I had a day off last week, two days before Thanksgiving, so I decided I’d do a partial “dry run” of the first of a series of marathon shopping trips I’ve been planning along a 150-mile stretch of a major highway. From one end of this route to the other, there are no fewer than nine 24-hour Walmart Supercenters (and two or three other stores open until midnight). I had enough time that day to travel to five of the stores. What I discovered surprised me, and I hope my experience serves as a wakeup call for anyone who has been lazy with their prepping. Waiting to stock up is the biggest mistake any of us could make.

I work nights so it’s usually easiest for me to travel from early evening to early morning — the hours I usually keep anyway. The first caveat I’ll offer for those of you who do your preps shopping at night is that at most big-box stores, items are still being restocked throughout the night and into the morning, so IF something you need isn’t on the shelf, it might be coming up. Or you might just be out of luck.

Since I was just doing a “dry run” and not a full-fledged shopping trip, at the first store I decided to get just one package of each item I had on my list to see how long it would take on average to navigate the aisles I needed to go to, then extrapolate that time over the number of stores I planned to visit — since food items are clustered together, I figured that the time spent picking up assorted non-food items around the store would be a better indication of how long it would take to navigate each store, then once I had picked up those items I would finish my shopping in the grocery section.

In the health and beauty section, I picked up a toothbrush, a bottle of Great Value brand amber mouthwash (a great oral disinfectant in addition to brushing), a package of dental floss and a package of Lava soap. In the sporting goods section, I picked up a box of ammo, a bottle of gun cleaner and gun oil and a magnesium fire starter kit. In the men’s clothing section, I picked up a pair of gloves and a package of socks.

Then I headed for the grocery section. And a lesson in both de facto food-price inflation and just-in-time inventory procedures.

To keep things simple on this test-run, I planned on grabbing just four grocery items–a case of Great Value canned salmon, a bag of Great Value pinto beans, a container of Great Value oatmeal and (my exception to my one-item rule) a case each of Great Value canned spinach and Great Value canned sliced carrots. I use each of these items on a regular basis, so of course I thought everything would be right where it always was. Boy, was I wrong. And I didn’t realize how wrong I was until I got to the fifth Walmart.

At the first store, I found everything I was looking for, and in fairly ample supply. Except for the canned carrots. There wasn’t a single can of Great Value canned carrots on the shelf. So I flagged down an employee, apologized for the trouble since everyone was trying to keep the shelves full in the leadup to Thanksgiving (this was about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, and Thanksgiving of course was Thursday) and asked the employee if they could check to see if there were any cases of Great Value carrots, and if not, could they tell me how many might be in stock elsewhere? The employee came back, said that according to their computerized inventory they were totally out of Great Value carrots at that store, but that there were 96 cans–a mere eight cases–at the nearest warehouse. I thanked the employee for all of his help, picked up another case of spinach in lieu of the canned carrots and headed for the checkout.

After loading my stuff in the car, I drove to the other 24-hour Walmart in town, with a nagging thought in my mind: What if the second store was out of carrots as well? How far was I willing to drive to find Great Value carrots? Wouldn’t it be a lot less trouble if I just settled for the name-brand carrots that were in ample supply on the shelves, instead of insisting on the Great Value brand? Well, yes, but if the less-expensive generic brand is out of stock and I have to settle for the more-expensive name brand, I’d have to pay more if I really wanted carrots.

And THAT is another angle of food price inflation: Great Value carrots didn’t get any more expensive. I just didn’t get there in time to get the cheaper brand. And so it would cost me more because someone else beat me to those carrots.

But hey, there are 96 cans at the warehouse, right?

ONLY 96 cans of carrots in the local warehouse of the largest retailer in the world. How many other shoppers are looking for Great Value carrots at this moment? But it didn’t really matter–because the carrots were at the warehouse and not on the store shelf. I was flat out of luck. So on to the next store I went.

I hit pauper’s pay dirt at the second Walmart–I got the LAST CAN of Great Value carrots on the shelf! Seeing a manager nearby, I flagged her down and asked her if she could tell me if there were any cases of carrots in the stockroom that weren’t yet on the shelf, and upon checking her computer she also told me that there were 96 cans of carrots at the nearest warehouse, but that I had apparently gotten the last can of Great Value carrots in the store.

Flash back to the mid-1980s when parents were literally fighting in the aisles of toy stores to get the last Cabbage Patch Kids right before Christmas. I felt that lucky. But suddenly I had a sense of vulnerability — what if this was the last can of food in the entire store? I’d be at ground-zero for a mob of hungry, angry people. But you know that moment is coming at some point — and someone will end up getting the very last can of something. And they’ll be in the crosshairs of everyone else who feels entitled to THAT last can and who will do anything to get it. Some of you may have seen this video ( of a mob trampling people to get into a Target store at 4 a.m. on Black Friday. How bad will things be when mobs trample people to get into grocery stores at 4 a.m. because they didn’t stock up when they should’ve because they blew all of their money on expensive toys?

At the third Walmart, again there were no Great Value carrots on the shelf. I flagged down the stocker at the end of the aisle and asked him if he could tell if there were any carrots waiting to be stocked. He walked over to a pallet that was about a 5-foot cube on each side, walked around it while looking at it up and down, then shook his head and apologized that he didn’t have any carrots.

Stop and think about this scene for a moment: I’m average height, about 5-foot-9, and I’m taller than this pallet of canned goods that’s being unloaded for this particular aisle for this day. That’s not a lot of food! Statistics show that grocery stores rotate through their entire inventory in about three days–Google the phrase “nine meals away from anarchy”–but if there’s a sudden surge in business, whether it’s an unexpected weather event (remember “Snowmageddon” last winter?), a natural disaster (look at the looting that occurred after Hurricane Katrina) or a sudden economic panic that sends everyone running to stores before prices spike upward (like gas prices after Katrina), you aren’t going to have stuff on the shelves very long at all, much less when you want those things at your fingertips at any time. Maybe this wasn’t the only pallet of canned goods being unloaded for this particular aisle. But then again, I wasn’t going to be the only shopper! And if the guy in front of me decided he was going to buy everything I wanted, it didn’t matter what was going to come in tomorrow, or next week, or maybe not at all. I was just plain out of luck.

So then it was on to the fourth Walmart — and again there was not a single can of Great Value carrots on the shelf nor in the stockroom, according to a store associate. So I picked up another case of canned spinach and, for variety, a case of fruit cocktail, paid for my items and set off for the fifth store. I forgot to ask the associate at the fourth store if there were any carrots in the warehouse (although this store was two counties away from the first store and may use a different warehouse).

I got to the fifth store, again finding no Great Value canned carrots on the shelf, so I flagged down a manager and asked if they could tell if there were any carrots back in the stockroom. He checked his computer and said that while they were out of the carrots at this store, another store in the next town (a store I had previously not known about) had 63 cans of carrots in stock — but they were not a 24-hour store, didn’t open until 7 a.m., and in fact had to close early the previous evening because a semi had hit a major power line and knocked out power at the store. The fact that there were 63 cans of carrots SOMEWHERE did me absolutely no good because there was no way to obtain them at that time.

The thing about “just-in-time” inventory is that it’s just-in-time for the store–not for the customer. You have absolutely no guarantee that you’ll be able to get what you want if you don’t get it now, and even if you want to wait for something, how long will it be before an item is back on the shelves? At a couple of the Walmarts, I asked the manager if they knew how long it might be before they got more carrots in stock — but they said they had no way to tell. Four stores had no Great Value canned carrots at all. I got the last can at another store. Another store had 63 cans, but they were out of reach until the next morning — and who knows how many other people might be waiting for the store to open and rush to get that very product because every other store was out of it? It doesn’t take a major leap of logic to realize that this will happen when items are in short supply — and how impolite, unruly or even violent will people get when they clamor to get the last item out of your hands because you have it and they want it?


So as I noted above, there are nine 24-hour Walmarts along a 150-mile stretch of highway leading to my town. It could take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to go to the other end of the route and then go to each store one by one, picking up all of the items I’m trying to stock up on, and finally unloading at my house at the end of the trip. But since we’ve already seen that just because there’s a 24-hour Walmart that there’s no guarantee something will be on the shelf, what kind of fool would I be just to give up and go home? I’d be a hungry fool! But let’s do the math on best-case scenarios on what I COULD get, if everything (including Great Value canned carrots!) is on the shelf. Let’s say that at each of the nine Walmarts, I’m able to get at least a case of carrots or other canned vegetables, a case of canned fruit, a case of canned salmon, 10 lbs. of dry beans and five 42-ounce containers of oatmeal (an average shopping trip for me, not counting refrigerated or frozen items). If I’m able to pick up at least this much of these items at each of the nine 24-hour Walmarts on my route, I’ll arrive home with 108 cans of vegetables, 108 cans of fruit, 108 cans of salmon, 90 lbs. of dry beans and almost 119 lbs. of oatmeal. That’s a pretty good start, and not bad for a day’s work! How long will it take to get a single sandwich or bowl of soup — if anything — if I have to wait in lines at soup kitchens or FEMA centers if I’m foolish enough to keep waiting instead of stocking up now?

And I wonder how many preppers lose sight of the big picture: It’s not how much food or water or ammo or anything else you have that’s important. What matters is how long you and your family will be self-sufficient and not dependent upon the government or other cash- or resource-strapped entities when disaster strikes. Unless a disaster strikes my neighborhood in a manner that directly impacts my house or my family’s lives, I don’t plan to leave my house in search of resources in the event of a disaster. I will either make sure I have as close to everything I need before disaster strikes, or I and my family will find a substitute or do without. If you’re not working on becoming self-sufficient, you’re missing the whole reason you should be prepping. Not only do self-sufficient people ease the strain on scarce or nonexistent resources, but they are in a position to help others during those stuff-hits-the-fan events. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to stock up compared to the amount of time wasted in line waiting for help when you could be at home with your loved ones taking care of each other, or helping others. If you plan to wait on stocking up or otherwise becoming self-sufficient because everything looks fine right now, you could be the next disaster waiting to happen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Breakfast for a year for about $80

Well, almost. The one thing I haven't picked up is milk. But between my recent purchase of nearly 60 pounds of Great Value brand oats at Walmart (which I then sealed up in mylar bags)...and yes, the date keeps changing on my can eat and stock up on food really cheap if you keep an eye out for bargains:

And just for variety, I took advantage of the sale on cereal at Kroger a couple days ago--got the last 16 boxes of my favorite granola cereal for $2 a box:

I guess the one caveat I'll add to the page header is that the year's worth of breakfast for about $80 is for one person...but at less than 50 cents a day for two people (my wife likes to eat, too), that's not a bad deal!

And for what it's worth, I know that a lot of people have privacy concerns over putting down personal information on the preferred-customer cards at grocery stores and elsewhere, but I've never even bothered to return the application form and have never had anyone say anything about my personal information not being in their computer system. So I get all the discounts and none of the creepiness of Big Brother knowing how much food I have stashed away. And if I ever had to actually turn in one of those info cards to continue to get store discounts, my name is Ted Nugent and I live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. :D

Happy eating, folks!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

There's plenty of room for food storage in unusual places

When I was a kid, my parents bought a trundle bed, with one mattress on top and a second mattress in a sort of drawer that pulled out from underneath the other mattress. I mention this to help those of you who think you don't have a lot of space for food storage see that you really DO have more space for food--and you SHOULD make space for food.

It sounds really weird to some people to suggest that, if you have limited shelf and/or closet space, then you should consider storing food items under your bed or other such places. For those of you not familiar with trundle beds, click on the link above for a photo of one of those beds. I'm not suggesting you buy a trundle bed; I'm suggesting you embrace the possibilities of such a storage concept. Many of us probably already have boxes and other items stored under our bed anyway, but as I've noted in other posts, most things taking up space in our living quarters are not as important as food, water and so on when it comes to our survival.

So along the same design concept as a trundle bed, let's imagine a wide and somewhat flat storage container that's big enough to hold canned goods and small enough to fit under your bed. I'm sitting here right now with a box that's about 11 inches wide by 17 inches long, and I've got 22 cans of various vegetables snugly fit into this box. Multiply that by the number of such boxes that I could fit under my bed (approximately 10) and you see the huge potential this sort of thing has for those of you with limited space. Now take a look at all the other misused space (space being taken up by stuff you never use or don't really need) and you've probably got room for several hundred cans of food in your home even though you "don't have much space."

I'd suggest organizing each box of canned goods according to the expiration dates stamped on the cans and rotate them first-in, first-out according to the dates (although studies show that the nutritional value of most canned goods goes well beyond the dates on the cans--the dates are just a regulatory requirement by the FDA (in the U.S.) and not a statement of whether food is safe to eat after said dates. Do your own research, but you will likely find similar information.

Keeping an inventory list of what you have stored up and stashed away can also be helpful--you can more easily keep track of what you have and what the expiration dates are. And just to keep prying eyes from seeing what you have hidden in your secret pantry, don't put that list on your computer. You never know when someone might be trying to tap into your personal information online. ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Get the word out about this site to your pastor and others

I don't want this blog to become just a niche forum for a very narrow segment of the online population, because quite frankly I think that the message about Christians and preparation for hard times should be spreading rapidly--and those of you who visit this blog are in a great position to help spread the word. I'm not looking for visitors to this blog just for the sake of having visitors; I'm wanting to see Christians across the country and across the world follow the example of Joseph in the book of Genesis, preparing for hard times and by doing so putting themselves in a position to minister to countless others. It's not an exact parallel, but I often think of how the Underground Railroad led captives to freedom and how by stocking up on food and other necessities in preparation for hard times, we will be in a position to feed others physically and spiritually, and our provisions will open the door for us to share with others what Christ has done and is doing in our lives. Feeding hungry, thirsty strangers gets their attention, and as we see in the Gospels so many instances in which Jesus fed people spiritually while also feeding them physically, why should we not be seeking to do the same thing?

But this should be a collective, community effort. Christians all over the country and all over the world should be stocking up so they can minister to others. This isn't just something that should be limited to those of us with Internet access. So I'd like to challenge you to tell your pastor and people in your church and your community about this blog. Tell them that they can go directly to, or you can even send them a link to this site by using the buttons at the bottom of each of these posts--the envelope button at the bottom will send an e-mail message to someone, and you can also post links to this site on Twitter and Blogger using the buttons below. For those of you whose pastors don't have Internet access, print out the articles on this blog and give it to them. I want to see hungry, thirsty strangers fed physically and spiritually and for them to see and hear from us that what they are seeing in action is the love of Jesus. Please tell your pastors about this site and ask them to likewise spread the message of this site to others. It's a great ministry opportunity for each and every one of us who follow Christ.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Food storage can come in handy if you can't go to the store

I haven't felt well this week, and that got me to thinking about the convenience of having plenty of food on hand at home in the event of a much more serious health crisis. It's one thing if you're home by yourself with the flu or some other malady, but what if there's a community-wide outbreak and much of the population in your area is under quarantine? What if your area is under a declared state of emergency and you can't travel anywhere, under the threat of arrest? I started writing my first post on this blog back in February while much of the country (including most of my state) was under a state of emergency because of severe winter weather. And under those conditions, if you didn't have food on hand and tried to go to the store but were stopped by authorities for violating the state of emergency, the only food you'd probably get would be three hots and a cot. Why risk it and inconvenience yourself later when you can stock up now?

I'm not feeling well, but I don't have to go shopping right now because I have plenty of food here at home. Food storage doesn't have to be just for an end of the world as we know it type of situation--sometimes it just makes life a little easier to have plenty of food right where you are. And I'm happier for having it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Putting our provisions in proper perspective

I was at work yesterday when a song came on the radio that brought to mind Psalm 37:25:
I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
No matter how much you may be able to stock up in this world to prepare for hard times, or how little you are able to do despite a desire to prepare, the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. Diligently stock up and be a good caretaker of the resources He has given you, but above all remember His promise to provide your needs.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Biblical mandate for charity, both in good times and bad

Some of you may have noticed one of the links in my blogroll from I have a huge amount of respect for that site's webmaster, Jim Rawles, for his insistence on Biblical morality and his refusal to compromise what he believes when it comes to preparedness, but even more important in my opinion are his comments on the Biblical mandate for charity. The link below is well worth checking out, and I hope it will lead to a bit of soul-searching for each of us as we continue in preparedness-related activities. Those of us who are Christ's followers should always view what we're doing through the Word that He has given us, even and especially when things get bad. I hope this link will challenge each of you:

Christian Charity--Now, and Post-TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)

Friday, April 1, 2011

No April Fools joke, soup doesn't have to be boring!

As I posted a few days ago, it's possible to make literally hundreds of different soups from just a handful of basic ingredients, starting with rice and beans. I know that to some people the proverbial "rice and beans diet" for those of us on a really tight budget might seem almost like a joke, but maybe not so much of a joke with the economy seeming like a bad joke! But like I said earlier, if you "spice it up" with any number of various spices, soup can be quite tasty, and with rice and beans thrown in, it can also be quite filling.

My wife and I just got back last night from a 24-hour, 450-mile round trip moving the rest of our stuff to our new house, and after hours of lifting and moving and driving, we were really hungry but too tired to cook, so I suggested we try a new Cajun carry-out restaurant I'd heard about. We paid about $6.50 each for huge servings of red beans and sausage and red pepper-soaked chicken and vegetables over rice and just about had to wheel ourselves and our leftovers out to the car afterward. So while my stomach was thanking me for the first real food I'd eaten all day--ever have those days when you get so busy that you just forget to eat??--my brain was analyzing the makeup of the chicken concoction.

Conclusion: A little bit of spices can go a LONG WAY toward making a simple meal not just un-boring but pretty darn good!

(photo courtesy of

Some of you might do a double-take when you realize that the photo above is of quart-sized jars of spices because, really, who besides restaurants keeps that much of any particular spice on hand? The real "food for thought" is that you can get a huge amount of flavor for just a few cents per serving if you buy spices in bulk from places such as Sam's Club, Costco or various online distributors. (I've been very happy with the tomato powder I've bought from for the sake of disclosure, I do not have any sort of business relationship with them other than being a satisfied customer.) Some people might think it's crazy to buy spices by the pound, but would you rather have "too much" of a certain spice (if that's possible), or not enough? I'm looking at the container of cayenne powder I bought for less than $5 at Sam's Club, and the weight listed on the container is 18 ounces. For most people, a fraction of a teaspoon of cayenne will set their socks on fire! So do the math: For less than $5, you can get literally hundreds of servings of ZINNNNGGGG!! in your food for just pennies each. How's that for getting major mileage out of "just rice and beans"?

It would be a good investment to get a case or two of mason jars to store spices in, as the airtight lids will keep your spices much fresher than just the standard snap-on flaps that most spice containers have on them. Some culinary purists might argue that spices will go bad after a certain period of time, which might be true if you were constantly opening and closing a container over hot steam, as would be the case if you were working in a restaurant, but the only thing that would theoretically go "bad" would be the flavor of the spices possibly diminishing. But would you rather have spices that weren't quite at their prime for the sake of spicing up "just rice and beans" or no spices at all? I'll take months-old spices if it's all I have!

And the reason I'm passionate about emphasizing spices when it comes to low-budget eating is because of the danger of "food fatigue," which I'll touch upon in another post very soon. If you eat the same thing over and over again--sometimes you might not have much choice, if you want to eat at all--some people, especially children and the elderly, may be inclined not to eat at all rather than eat the same thing over and over. So with this in mind, and with the notion that just about anyone can make dozens or maybe even hundreds of different soups with just a few basic ingredients, I'll write about food fatigue in an upcoming post and suggest preventive culinary measures you can take to keep on eating like a king on a peasant's budget.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cheap but good food: Post your favorite soup recipes here

I've been saying for a long time that it's possible to eat very well and very cheap by making a huge variety of soups or stews using rice and beans as your food base and adding different meats/poultry, vegetables and spices to create different recipes around the rice and beans. There are hundreds, possibly even thousands of different soups you can make using the same basic ingredients--who says soup has to be boring? I've dropped a few bucks apiece for soup recipe downloads and/or CDs on eBay and have well over 1,000 soup recipes on hand. Add homemade bread to the picture (I'd suggest stocking up on various grains so you can make your own bread--it's easy, and I'll post more about this later), and you have a complete, nutritious and very filling meal!

So I'd like to hear from you: If you have soup recipes you'd like to share on this blog to help others see how to eat well on a budget, I'll be happy to post them! I'm sure that there are a lot of other families, community organizations, soup kitchens and others who would love to have more ideas on how to feed people creatively on a tight budget.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

How just-in-time inventory could leave your pantry empty

For those of you looking for a good excuse not to stock up now, here's a disturbing link that shows how razor-thin most stores' inventory is in good times...and you probably don't want to imagine worst-case scenarios, but you should. Most of us probably wouldn't travel to five different Walmarts just to prove the point that this blogger makes about how little inventory (food or otherwise) is on store shelves at any given moment, but his point is crystal-clear: Stock up now while you can, for the sake of yourself and your family:

Article: Five Walmarts, one can of carrots and de facto food-price inflation

Here's a key paragraph from the link above:
The thing about “just-in-time” inventory is that it’s just-in-time for the store--not for the customer. You have absolutely no guarantee that you’ll be able to get what you want if you don’t get it now, and even if you want to wait for something, how long will it be before an item is back on the shelves? At a couple of the Walmarts, I asked the manager if they knew how long it might be before they got more carrots in stock--but they said they had no way to tell. Four stores had no Great Value canned carrots at all. I got the last can at another store. Another store had 63 cans, but they were out of reach until the next morning--and who knows how many other people might be waiting for the store to open and rush to get that very product because every other store was out of it? It doesn’t take a major leap of logic to realize that this will happen when items are in short supply--and how impolite, unruly or even violent will people get when they clamor to get the last item out of your hands because you have it and they want it?

What's your excuse for not stocking up right now?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hungry yet?


We're living in some pretty tough and interesting times. Around the world right now, countries are going bankrupt, economies are in turmoil, and rates of hunger and poverty are soaring. You don't have to go very far to find people who don't have enough to eat--it may be your neighbors, coworkers, people you see at church, even people at the grocery store who can't afford to buy all the food that they need. According to recent statistics, about 1 out of every 8 people in the U.S. is either going hungry or doesn't yet know where their next meal will come from. And this person could be you. Or me.

Truth be told, I've been hungry before. REALLY hungry. For about six months back in 1998, in the midst of severe personal crises, I was lucky to get more than one meal a day. I was struggling to find enough work and didn't have enough money to cover the expenses I had. But through the kindness of other Christians, my basic needs were met. And with very trying times coming upon our country and the rest of the world right now, Christians can again be on the frontlines, meeting needs and ministering to people in the name of Christ.

A radical idea

What I am about to suggest is something that will sound crazy to most people, and I'll probably be branded a lunatic for saying this:

It's time to live below our means and to save or stock up more than we spend or use.

What kind of a lunatic am I??

Well, I'm a lunatic who hates being hungry. I'm a lunatic who tries to spend less than I make and use less than I take in. I'm a lunatic who likes the idea of buying more of something today that I'll use anyway and paying less than I would if I waited until the price went up. But I'm also a lunatic who, because I am a follower of Jesus, I am crazy by this world's standards, according to the Bible. A sizable number of Jesus' parables were about being wise, responsible caretakers of the resources He gives us to use. If we're wise and responsible with those resources (as we should be), we will likely have extra that we can use to help others. If we make foolish decisions on how we use our resources--do we really want to go there??--we will be at the mercy of others.

Filling your pantry is the wise thing to do

Those of you who are followers of Jesus are probably familiar with the story of Joseph in Genesis 41-45: Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, but because Joseph served God, He eventually put Joseph in a position of influence in Pharoah's kingdom and through Joseph showed Pharoah that seven years of famine would be coming upon the land and that in the meantime, during the times of prosperity, the people of Egypt were to store up a portion of their food that would sustain them through the famine. And through Joseph's influence, many people, including his own brothers who had sold him into slavery, were saved from the famine.

It's not much of a stretch to say that a lot of people today are just a paycheck away from being without food. So if stocking up during the good times to prepare for the bad times has worked before, it will work now! If each person in our household eats or uses two boxes, bags or cans of something every week, we need to start buying three or more boxes, bags or cans of that item for each person. Every week. And build up a surplus. A HUGE surplus. And start yesterday.

Some of you are probably thinking, "But isn't that 'hoarding' food? And isn't 'hoarding' food illegal?" My first question to you is, who are you letting into your house to inspect your pantry and to tell you how much food you can or can't have to provide for your family?? My second question is, if you have the means to build up a surplus of food and other items that you need to survive, why would you not do that but instead put yourself at the mercy of others who may not have either the resources or the inclination to provide for you?

"Hoarding" in the strictest sense is the acquisition of scarce resources you don't necessarily need so that you can try to use those scarce resources to make a profit off of others at some point in the future. Maybe you're buying up the last of some item and turning around and reselling it to people who are willing to pay you a lot more than you bought it for because you got the last stuff--that's hoarding. But if there's plenty of a certain item on the shelf at the store, then buying a lot of that item and building up a surplus isn't hoarding!

Stock up, conceal it well and shut up!

There are no laws on the books right now in the U.S. that say you can't build up a surplus of food to provide for your family and others, especially during these hard times. But if laws were to be passed saying you couldn't stock up on a large supply of food to help feed yourself, your family and others, those rules shouldn't be obeyed--such laws are evil and unconscionable. Just because something is the law doesn't make it right--slavery was once legal, but it was and still is morally reprehensible!

Build up--and keep building up--a surplus of what you normally use anyway. And then keep your mouth shut!

Bankrupt organizations and governments can feed you--NOT!

The notion that "someone else" will provide for us right now so that we don't have to provide for ourselves is utterly ridiculous. But before my comments are misconstrued, let me clarify what I mean: There have always been poor people, and unfortunately right now millions more people are sliding into poverty or are at risk of doing so. But for the rest of us who have a little money left over after our basic needs are taken care of, it's the smart thing to do to start stocking up on food so that if you happen to end up among those who are struggling to find work or otherwise can't afford food, you'll already have food on hand to sustain you until you can find work. We buy car insurance, home insurance and health insurance to help cover our needs in those areas, so why not give ourselves "food insurance" as well? If you have the means to stock up on food, there's no good reason not to do so.

Society is just nine meals away from anarchy

What do I mean by the phrase nine meals away from anarchy? In the United States, most grocery stores sell all available inventory in three days--that's nine meals--or less. If trucks were not able to deliver goods to restock the shelves--maybe because of severe weather, trucking strikes, crop failures or just a general panic for no good reason, store shelves could be stripped bare in hours just like locusts devouring crops. And if you didn't stock up beforehand while there was plenty on the shelves and no sudden surge in demand, you might be hungry. And waiting a long time for food.

Before 24-hour stores, people stocked up on food at home

Think back to less than 100 years ago, before Walmart, before 24-hour grocery stores, before just-in-time inventory procedures that put items on store shelves right when they were needed and not a moment sooner. I grew up near farm country, and 100 years ago a lot of towns had the fruits of their own harvest stored in the pantries of those who had grown it or bought it locally. It was absolutely normal for families to have several months' worth of food stored up after the harvest, because where else were they going to get that food from? The only real difference between 100 years ago and now is that now we're at the mercy of supply lines that may or may not bring us what we want, when we want it, because those supply lines are fragile and vulnerable.

When I started writing the content on this page in early February, much of my part of the country was under a state of emergency because of severe winter weather. Only emergency vehicles were allowed on the roads during the state of emergency, and if I hadn't stocked up on extra food beforehand, I would've been really hungry by the time the state of emergency was lifted.

Did I mention that I hate being hungry?

It doesn't take a huge mental leap to imagine the store shelves that have been left empty by people trying to get last-minute items before the storm hits--Google "winter storm empty shelves" for visual accounts of recent worst-case scenarios. But if you've stocked up before literal and figurative storms such as these, you'll have enough for your family and for others.

Let me emphasize the "and for others," because for those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus, serving others isn't optional--it should be the very core of who we are. And if we don't have a surplus to pull from, how are we going to take care of others or ourselves?

"But God will provide for me!"

Yes, He will! And if you have a job or other sources of income, He already is providing for you! But nowhere in Scripture is His provision for us portrayed as a means to rescue us from our own laziness or foolishness. God has provided me with a wonderful job that I've had for nearly 10 years. But does that mean I can use my money in whatever way I want because "God will provide"? Not at all! A sizable number of Jesus' parables were about stewardship--how we use (or misuse) the resources He allows us to have. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:10-14:
"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames."

A fool and his money are soon parted*
(*if he spends what he has on foolish things)

One person could take $1,000 and use it to buy expensive "toys" that he can't eat or that won't sustain his life, while another person could take that same $1,000 and use it to buy things that will help feed, clothe and shelter his family. (How's that plasma-screen TV sound for breakfast?) And I can't think of one good reason not to stock up on food! Your mileage may vary, but a year's worth of food for one person could take up less space than a large walk-in closet. Is there a better use for your space than stocking up on food? After all, everyone NEEDS closets full of stuff they never use instead of putting that space to better use, right?

Awesome ministry opportunities over a meal

There are myriad accounts in the Gospels of Jesus talking with and ministering to people while sharing a meal with them. Food is central to survival, and storing up extra food not just for yourself but also to share with others can create opportunities for you to help feed them both physically and spiritually. You can invite people in for a meal and in the process you can find out what is going on in their lives and share both in words and in actions what the Lord is doing in your life. If they are struggling spiritually, you can offer words of encouragement to them as the Lord strengthens you. If they are struggling to keep food on the table, you can likewise help them from the bounty you are stocking up, doing so anonymously and secretly. There are probably many among us who at times have left much-needed gifts for others outside their door in the middle of the night, following the Lord's admonition in Matthew 6:1-4 to do such things secretly, known only to us and Him. But it's kind of hard to help feed other people if you don't have extra food!

Set aside 5 percent of your paycheck for "food insurance"
(and click here for ideas on how to use that 5 percent)

Some of you are probably thinking "Set aside 5 percent of my paycheck? I can't do that!" But every dollar you earn goes somewhere, right? And you have to eat! So let's go back to one of the points above: Organizations and governments that are bankrupt can't take care of you. They can't take care of you because they're broke!

Now, please don't misunderstand what I'm saying--I realize that there are a lot of people who have little choice right now but to depend on certain organizations and social programs to help them put food on the table, and I'm not directing these comments at people who are truly needy. I'm directing these comments to those of you who aren't willing to live below your means now because you think someone will bail you out down the road when you're broke and hungry.

If there's no more water in the well, it doesn't matter how long you stand there with the tap wide open waiting for more water--it's all gone!

Stock up what you eat, and eat what you stock up!

I don't think it's an outrageous proposition to suggest that people should have, at the very minimum, several months worth of food stocked up at home. A year's worth of food for one person might sound like a lot, but that's only three months' worth of food for a family of four! And if I wasn't sure that I'd have a job next week or next month or even tomorrow, I'd start stocking up on food right now while I still had an income so that if I lost my job, at least I wouldn't be hungry for a while.

There are probably a lot of people who'd like to start stocking up on food but they have no idea where to start. So at the risk of sounding obvious, start by buying extra of what you already buy anyway! If your family eats a box of cereal a week, buy two boxes of that cereal a week, every week. If you eat 10 cans of vegetables a week, buy 20 cans every week. If your kids eat a box of raisins a week, buy two boxes every week. And so on. Rotate what you buy, first-in, first-out. And keep stocking up.

If you buy an extra box of cereal and 10 extra cans of vegetables a week, at the end of a month you'll have four extra boxes of cereal and 40 extra cans of vegetables, and anything else you keep stocking up. It adds up quickly, and it's absolutely worth it!

Pray for opportunities to share with others

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have seen His provision for my needs in so many situations where I had no clue how I was going to get what I needed. And in a large number of those situations, His provision for my needs came through the kindness and generosity of other Christians. My intention in putting up this blog is not just to help you keep from going hungry, although I hope it does that. If you are a follower of Jesus, I hope that what I have written here will help you see ministry opportunities right where you are during these trying times, starting with something as simple as sharing a meal with others. If you are not a follower of Jesus, I encourage you to get a Bible and start reading it, starting with the Gospel of John.

You can have several years worth of food in your pantry but still be starving spiritually. The words and the person of Jesus have been feeding and growing my spirit for almost 25 of my 40 years. He gave me hope that pulled me back from the brink of suicide as a high school freshman, and that hope and strength in my life has sustained during those times when I've had plenty and in other times when I wasn't sure where I'd find my next meal. If you have all the "stuff" in the world but you're still hungry spiritually, still not satisfied with the pile of things you've stocked up and have questions, feel free to drop me a line.