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08/24/2005 Archived Entry: "Feeding the mob at TEOTWAWKI"

I GOT TO THINKING ABOUT WHAT I WOULD DO if, like Silver, I expected a mob of relatives at my door come TEOTWAWKI time.

Hard to imagine even being in that position. Most of my family is remote and my local friends all have pretty well-stocked pantries of their own. I also have increasing doubts about whether Americans are likely ever to face real TEOTWAWKI. Who knows?

On the other hand, it's not at all difficult to imagine needy strangers or acquaintances showing up at my doorstep during some sort of emergency. Cabin Sweet Cabin could be seen as a prime refuge in a flood, for instance, as it's on a high ground near a small, flood-vulnerable town.

Silver is onto the right idea in stocking a long-term supply of the foods he and his wife regularly eat, but you can't (and shouldn't have to) do that for a dozen relatives.

Neither my pantry nor my budget allows me to feed anybody but me and my dogs for more than a few days. But if I had an extra couple hundred dollars and knew I might feel obligated to feed others, here's what I'd do:

Of course, you also need to make sure you have plenty of potable water, grinders, and ancillary supplies. But then, since all of the above is in addition to your own existing preparedness pantry, presumably you've already got spices, condiments, water-purification supplies, etc. that could be stretched.

It's not an easy project. So I can certainly sympathize with the "just shoot any moochers who show up" attitude. And in Silver's case -- where he's dealing with people who've pre-announced their intention to use him as their emergency supply -- I might be tempted to say, "I'll take in your kids and help them, but you Mr. Moocher, can just starve in the street."

But in reality, I suspect that the decision to tell a desperate person to go to hell (in anything short of all-out, "it's you or me" TEOTWAWKI) is harder than we imagine. And truly, most of us have no idea who might show up at our door needing help, or under what circumstances. All our preparedness scenarios might turn out to be fantasies, with the reality being very different than anything we've imagined.

Still, if I had the resources, I'd certainly like to be able to help my neighbors, at least for the short term, during a flood, long-term power outage, quarantine, or other emergency that cut off food supplies or drove them out of their homes. I just wish more of them were prepared to do the same for me or for their own kin.

Posted by Claire @ 09:44 AM CST

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