Over the past two months, many preppers and survivalists had their “radar” on and began researching the dangers of this strain of coronavirus. The statistics of how long the virus can survive on certain surfaces, how super contagious the virus is, the mortality rate by age, how few numbers of hospital ICU units are available for a country of this size, the apocalyptic situation in Italy, etc. got a lot of people adding to their preps way ahead of the federal government warnings, which seem to have only gotten serious in the last week or so. We are at a time of this now-pandemic where schools, businesses, and even domestic travel are being closed and severely limited.
One of the best ways to prepare regarding food is to have long-term storage food, which is usually freeze-dried and nitrogen-packed and stored in your basement or retreat. This type of food can last over 30 years and still be eaten (even 50+-year-old government-packed survival crackers are very edible today), but it's about three times the price of store-bought food. In the long run, long-term storage food, such as Mountain House or Ready Reserve Foods, is a great investment and one should invest in at least a six-month supply for each member of their family. Currently, long-term storage food spiked in prices by at least 20% IF you can get it, and now many companies are backordered for months. The government’s current recommendation of an emergency “two-week supply” is as irresponsible a recommendation as it is laughable. If you are not a college student living in a dorm, destitute, living in a van, or a drug addict, then most likely you have two weeks’ worth of food in your pantry and refrigerator right now. So, what do you do if you if you need to build at least a 90-day supply but are low on funds? Here is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to stock what you will need and it's called: Three Cans a Day.
Yes, this emergency, and emergencies like it, can cause the starvation of people in the good ol’ USA. If the trucks stop delivering, or even get to the point of 75% or 50% delivery rates, food will dry up in an hour. Just look at how stores today are struggling to keep items in stock even with round-the-clock stocking. That may not last much longer, and then rationing starts. After that, if you are out of food, it will be MREs passed out by the National Guard, a soup kitchen, or FEMA-run camps like those during Hurricane Katrina – all of these places will expose you and your family to COVID-19 and other diseases, as well as violence and crime. The ideal time to prepare was in the past, of course, but even if you have some items, or are a seasoned prepper, this also works for you as well to add to your storage.
Three cans a day of anything like: pork & beans, vegetables, beef raviolis, SpaghettiOs, stew, fruit cocktail, tuna, chicken, chili, etc. will keep someone from starving. Discount stores like Dollar General, ALDI’s, Save-A-Lot, and Walmart have the lowest prices reported and your area probably has other discount food chains carrying generic items. So, here goes:
Three Cans a Day for a Family of Four
3 cans/day per person x 4 people = 12 cans/day
12 cans/day per family of four x 30 days = 360 cans/month
360 cans/month x 3 months = 1,080 cans
1,080 cans x 75 cents/can (average) = $810 (for two people, only $405)
You need to do this simple math, as just filling up a grocery cart or two will NOT be enough. Supplement with wheat (to be ground for flour – can store for many years in this form), rice, and dried beans – 25 pound bags of rice (parboiled, long grain, etc.) can be purchased for as low as $11, but most Sam’s Clubs and COSTCOs have been running out for almost two weeks. Like spaghetti? A 24-ounce jar of sauce can cost as low as one dollar, and a pound of dried pasta also as low as one dollar – for two dollars you can feed four adults with enough left over for a few second helpings ($60 dollars feeds a family of four dinners for a month!). Another way to supplement is by hunting (possibly those representatives in state government will pass something like a limited spring deer hunt or extend spring hunting seasons).
As far as water, fill as many clean food-grade containers as possible. (Don’t throw away any two-liter containers or similar plastic containers that were used for soda as long as those were not drank directly from the bottle.) Ideally, if you can obtain a 55-gallon drum that is BPA-free and FDA-approved for drinkable water storage then get one and fill it up NOW. There may be disruptions in water service. If you can purchase a Berkey or other gravity water filter, buy it. Pump filters like the MSR water filter pumps for camping will also allow you to use rain water or water from streams, etc. Don’t forget additional over-the-counter flu medicines and vitamin supplements (at least one multivitamin per day per person), anti-viral herbal remedies, as well as fill your prescriptions. Do this immediately, even if you have to take off of work.
Don’t have the money? Throw the purchases on a credit card. No credit card? Sell something you don’t need or pawn it or ask a friend for a loan. If the disaster ends early, that’s great! Keep your food for emergencies and remember that canned food stays edible years after an expiration date in most cases (never open a can which has expanded). Or, just rotate the food into your diet, but if you don’t like cheap canned food, then you can always donate it to a homeless shelter (before the expiration dates) and take a tax write off.
What this country really needs is a “Civil Defense Act of 2020” whereby citizens get a 100% tax write off for the purchase of ANY preparedness items from long-term storage food to bomb shelters and everything in between. This would bring back civic responsibility, take strain off of the bureaucracy during crisis, and prevent those chilling words: “Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
If you are still in a dream state, you need to wake up. Don’t have the sheep mentality by waiting to see what your friends, family, and neighbors do first, and don’t wait for some “red alert” to pop up on your local news. The s#!+ HAS hit the fan, and we are in a declared national emergency and a worldwide pandemic. This will last many months. So, what are you waiting for? MOVE!