Before we begin with our weekly challenge there are a few things I think you should be aware of. If you have been following the posts on Totallyready.com you have read most of this, if not, buckle up.
You may have noticed food prices going up. If you have not, you will soon. Beef prices have gone up due to crop failures and the inability to feed cattle. Ranchers have sold much of their cattle as a result meaning a shortage soon. All this due to the drought. Cattle numbers were also down thanks to the freeze in Texas this winter during birthing season when many calves were lost. Oat prices are up due to crop failure and low yield, again due to the drought. This yield will be the smallest since 1866. Blueberry prices have risen 40% on the wholesale market. Pork prices have risen. Nut prices are up due to the government restricting water to farmers. If you use tree nuts, almond flour, almond drink, or nut butter higher prices are coming. Wheat prices are rising affecting everything from breads to pasta. Farmers in California have plowed under tomato fields due to restriction on water use. Combine tomato and flour price increases and you can expect a jump in pizza and everything Italian. Farmers cannot find laborers resulting in fields going unplanted making the outlook bleak for winter crops.
And then there is fuel. The sharp rise in fuel prices and the shortage of truckers has made trucking foods and consumer good more expensive. Add to this the problems with cargo shipping and the shortage of goods being imported, and we can expect higher prices and shortages on everything from medications to Christmas gifts for the kids.
Be sure to visit TotallyReady.com for information in the coming days and weeks. It is not my intent to frighten or make political comments here but only to be a warning voice. Too often we do not recognize the warning signs until it is too late.
I hope you have taken seriously shopping sales, especially on food, and you are teaching your family to spot sales with and for you.
It’s time to assemble a Five-Day kit. Experience has shown a 72-hour kit is not enough to meet needs before help arrives. Following a disaster first responders and relief organizations will be organizing, tending to those critically injured, preventing more damage, controlling danger and even attending to their own family needs. When infrastructure is damaged supplies may take days to arrive.
This week hold a scavenger hunt. Copy the Articles: The Ultimate 120-hour Kit and The Ultimate 120-hour Kit Part Two from the Totally Ready website. (120 hours = Five Days) Copy the lists.
Eliminate the food, and water and use the list of remaining items for your treasure hunt. Divide the family into teams, set a timer and see how many items each team can find in the allotted time. You should already have many, if not most, in your home.
Gather together and divide the items you have found between your kits, assembling one for each family member. If you have not found enough unused backpacks place items in tubs, bags, or unused suitcases until you can purchase backpacks. Do not let a lack of backpacks stop you from beginning. As you build your kits make note of items you will need to purchase. You are done for the night.
Determine a place your kits will be kept and add hooks or shelves as needed. All kits should be kept in one location.
Day two: Now that you have begun to assemble your kits, it’s time to add the fun things. It’s time for food! This is a favorite week for the kids. Plan ahead by having food purchased and ready to lay out on a table for the kids and adults to choose from. Lay foods out in groupings, choose from group one for breakfast, group two lunch, group three dinner, and group four snacks.
Consider the following when purchasing food:
Foods should be ready to eat with no need to cook. It is tempting to purchase instant oatmeal and cup-a-noodles but they both require water, which may be in short supply. Many of these foods also require hot water and you may not have a way to heat water. Shelters may have hot water, they may not.
You may include dried fruits, single serving fruit cans, fruit leather, pouched tuna or chicken salad, nuts, jerky, granola bars, breakfast bars, individual containers of peanut butter, crackers, and of course some desserts. You may also choose to add foods that can be eaten directly from a can such as chili, but they will add quite a bit of weight. Be sure to add hard candies and/or lollipops as they really help with thirst when water is limited. Adding pouches of lemonade powder or other flavorings that can be added to individual water bottles is a great way to add variety when space and weight is a consideration.
As each person chooses their meals place them in a resealable plastic bag and label them, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This will help control the food and prevent running out on day three when you thought you had planned for five days. If you are going to place all meals in a separate backpack or tub also add the name of the person to each bag.
1. Provide calories. Do not worry about these foods being “healthy”. During a stressful time, we burn more calories, so it is the calories we worry about. Foods that are considered treats by children, such as cold cereals or granola bars, will bring comfort during a time when they will be confused and anxious. If you are keeping your kits in a warm location, remember chocolate melts and can make a mess.
2. Foods should be familiar. This is not the time to try new things. Purchase the brands and varieties you are already enjoying.
3. Think food groups. As we do with our food storage, think about including all the food groups. It may not be possible to have every group at every meal, include at least one serving each day from each group.
Foods to consider:
- Breakfast bars and/or protein bars.
- Pop tarts.
- Dry cereals in their own little containers.
- Boxed milk for dry cereal or to drink. Boxed chocolate milk on cereal would make a child’s day!
- Pouched tuna and chicken salad, Vienna sausages.
- Individual peanut butter packets.
- Granola bars.
- Dried fruit: do not add dehydrated or freeze-dried fruit as they can cause dehydration when consumed without reconstituting!
- Fruit rolls
- Jerky in small amounts, as it can cause an increase in thirst
- Unsalted nuts or trail mix
- Apple sauce in squeeze pouches
- Mandarin oranges. These come in small pop-top cans, not adding much weight and the syrup is great to drink. If using pop-top cans place a piece of duct tape over the top to preventing it from catching on something and opening accidentally.
- Waxed cheese. Cheese preserved in this way is shelf stable and will last at least a year.
- M&Ms and other candy that will not be affected by the heat.
- Hard candy and/or lollipops to help with thirst.
- Plastic cutlery, a must have if you are eating foods from a can.
- Can opener if the cans are not a pop-top variety.
To cut down on the weight in kits, place some of the heavier items such as boxed drinks in a plastic container in your cupboard. Use these for lunches and snacks now but always keep it full. When evacuating it is easy to grab the container to throw in the car.
Keep a container of favorite candy bars and granola bars that you rotate when needing a snack This will be easy to grab for snacking in the car as you wait in long lines of traffic when evacuating or for added comfort in a shelter.
Water is very heavy, keep a case with your kits and toss it in the car as you evacuate. I love water bottle carriers. These are lanyards with a gasket at the end that slips over the neck of a water bottle so it can be carried around your neck or looped thru a belt. These are great for keeping track of your water in a shelter, while waiting in line for food or waiting and filling out forms with the insurance company or government agency.
Add a water bottle with a filter to each kit. If this is cost prohibitive, add one to each adult kit. These enable you to purify water that is contaminated to make it safe for drinking. There is no way you can carry enough water with you and water is always in short supply after a disaster.
Ask yourself, if not me then who? Who will prepare your children, grandchildren and even the adults to be self-reliant and find peace and confidence when tough times come?
Inflation is coming and increasing, natural disasters as becoming more frequent, food scarcity is a problem in many areas of the world. Visit Totallyready.com or facebook.com/totally ready for answers to questions and help.