Prepping: Getting Started-Food Pantry

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    Prepping: Getting Started-Food Pantry
    (Photo by Suzba,; )

    Preparing to increase your home food storage is a critical part of preparedness. Read this from the American Trucking Associations:

    When Trucks Stop America Stops

    Significant shortages will occur in as little as three days, especially for perishable items following a national emergency and a ban on truck traffic. Minor shortages will occur within one to two days. At convenience stores and other small retailers with less inventory, shortages will occur much sooner.

    Federal & Emergency agency recommendations are for a minimum of two (2) weeks. Read more HERE. Consider the possible response time of federal response agencies, the type of emergency situation that you are preparing for, your financial situation. Then consider preparing for a minimum of two (2) weeks and increasing your preparations as you are financially able.

    The rule of thumb for food stocks is “Stock what you Eat. Eat what you Stock.” This will ensure that you are rotating foods that have a shorter shelf life than other foods in your storage. It will also help you maintain some semblence of ‘normal’ in a stressful situation.

    From Food-Getting Started (

    How can I ever do this? Start NOW, but don’t defeat yourself.
    Break the task of stockpiling down into stages. Getting your pantry stocked for two weeks is a good initial goal. Simply write down what you eat over a two-week period. Then add a few extra items on each shopping trip. Look for specials and bulk purchases. Remember to add lunches for children who are normally at school,
    as well as infants and toddlers.

    Once you’ve reached this goal, go for four weeks of food, then eight, and then twelve. In a few months, you will have a full pantry full of you kind of food.

    Remember, the idea is NOT to always have gourmet meals, but to feed your family and keep them sustained as long as you possibly can, using the financial resources that you have available to you during the shopping you will be starting, now. So, where to start?

    FIRST, to jump start your Emergency Food Pantry:

      Consider ‘Stretching Staples’ for your first purchase in your basic emergency stockpile for your pantry. Include: rice, beans, noodles and canned soups. When you add these ‘stretching staples’ together (Rice & Beans, Soup & Noodles) or add them to other food prep items you will get through a longer period of time. Add noodle or rice to your cans of meat.


      Canned goods store for a long, long time! Manufacture dates stamped on cans are a guide. They are not always set in stone for expiration. You can find out more HERE and HERE

      Buy a Little at a Time. If you are in a financial bind, purchasing one or two of something each time you shop will help you faster than you think. It builds up quick.

      USE Store COUPONS! Take advantage of 10/$10 deals (just get 1 or 2, if the sale allows). Get the ‘BOGO’ (‘Buy One-Get One’) specials. Look for specials & bulk dry goods.

      Use the Dollar Store! There are a lot of great deals at the dollar store and food discount stores. If you are not familiar with a product. Buy one and try it first. Watch your prices, compare to local grocery prices to insure you’re getting a good deal.

      Consider food allergies and dislikes. If your emergency situation is that you are unemployed and financially strapped, and you need to use your food preps, medical costs to treat an allergy may be out of the question. If it’s a large scale emergency where getting to a doctor, pharmacy or medical facility is difficult or impossible, you don’t want to be sick. When you are stressed you want foods you like, if you can get them.

      Some basic guidance for starting your food supply preparations include (from ReadyMoms Alliance, Live Ready; pdf):

      • consider foods with a long shelf life (cooking time remains a consideration).

      • Experiment with meals that can be made from pantry items.

      • Buy canned food in sizes that make the most sense. Consider how much you will use at once. Does the leftover product have to be refrigerated? Will food go to waste if the power’s off?

      • (For Non-Food Items)Buy extra of ordinary items you use from week to week, so that you are not caught short – i.e., paper products, feminine hygiene products, baby needs, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

    One document that I have offered at community preparedness events is a guide to getting started over a six-week period of time. You can find it here: Handout-Basics in Six Weeks .

    A great source of basic water information can be found on the GetPandemicReady website. Although the info was written for pandemic preparation … it’s good for any disaster preparation! (disclosure: I am a co-founder of the GPR site). Here are the two pages that you will find helpful in organizing your Emergency Food Pantry preparation needs:
    Food-Getting Started

    Pantry Preparation = Peace of Mind!

    Edited for content and additional links-07.21.10

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