Helping Those In Need After SHTF

Building Charity Packs

by Mama J

This is one of the hardest parts of prepping for me. I do not have many neighbors that would be dependant on us, though there are a few. Our rural neighborhood will come together to help them. Not just one family.

I don’t believe I would be able to turn away homeless hungry children. Not without great emotional cost. Actually, my family plans on keeping me away from stray children. We have adopted several.

If I have enough for my family and we have the means, I want to have some way to help as many people as I can, even if it is for a short time. One gift of a hot meal, a clean body, a kind gesture. To ease the suffering of a child is the greatest gift I can imagine. These packs are designed as a starter kit or a temporary kit for short-term assistance.

In a large disaster and all infrastructure collapses, I can imagine a lot of displaced folks wandering down the road with their children. Looking for sanctuary, or a meal. I feel I must do something. If this comes to pass and I run out, at least I know I did everything I could for as many as possible.

One of my favorite things to do is “Treasure Hunt”. Yard sales. Thrift stores, Salvation Army, Craigslist, Freecycle. On my journey, I have seen so many items that can be put to good use, so I started building Charity Packs.

Before I say anything else, I must stress that you MUST prep for yourselves first! We have been prepping for over a decade. When you feel like you have sufficient stores for yourself and have extra items, put them to use here. Even with a limited income, we all tend to have extra items laying about. Even one or two packs would be helpful.

I have $20.00-$30.00 budget per week to Treasure Hunt. Mostly I buy items for my family list on this budget. Some weeks I don’t find anything. Some weeks I hit the Mother Lode. Once in awhile, I find something so incredible I dip into the savings. If I have funds left I buy items at the Dollar Store.

Ask your friends to save items for you. Keep an eye out for you when they are shopping. I see the same people at yard sales every week. We talk and tell each other what we are looking for. We have exchanged numbers in our phones. I have purchased hundreds of canning jars and equipment by text messages from other salers. Not to mention the camping gear, pack supplies, med supplies, the list goes on and on.

One woman I see often is all over the place. Almost every day. The only thing she does is cruise around looking for sales. I think she may be a hoarder, but she has helped me find some amazing deals! She never asks silly questions either. Bless her heart!

Check store clearance items. managers specials. Using coupons on clearance items make them almost free or deeply discounted. I make a clearance circuit in a each store. Every store in my area has specific spots for clearance items. Especially if a store is remodeling. They will have crazy amounts of cheap stuff. Add a coupon and BAM! Happy Dance.

Talk to the store managers, they will let you know the best times to pick up on good sales. Tell them what you are doing. People generally want to help you to help people. The manager of the Salvation Army and one of the local supermarkets have been very generous with items for these packs.

The basic Hygiene Kit is something I put in all of the packs. Everything is hotel/travel size. Thrift stores often sell some these items 5 or 6 for a dollar. I have had a lot of these items donated.

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soaps
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Small emery board~ I found a case of these at a thrift store for 50 cents. Must be five hundred in the box.
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Comb
  • Tissue
  • Mouthwash
  • OTC pain relievers
  • Cough drops
  • Band-aids
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet Ones
  • A small container of laundry soap.
  • Dryer sheets~ Help with bugs.
  • One quart size ziplock bag to put it in.

A towel and washcloth. I often these in perfect condition used. This is enough to give someone a few showers or even creek baths. Being clean can make someone feel human again. We are not setting up a household.

Sometimes I find and add…

  • Nail clippers
  • Disposable razors
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Food/Water Packs~ These vary depending on what I have
  • Water bottles
  • Chlorine bleach in a small bottle~ Water purification. This has to be changed out yearly.
  • Cup~ Metal camping cups when I can find them.
  • Fork, butter knife, spoon. Super cheap at a thrift store.
  • Homemade dehydrated soup mixes. Dehydrated foods with gravy mix or bouillon. Or….
  • Cans of soup, beans, veggies, whatever I can find.
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Ramen
  • Small packs of condiments~ Salt, pepper, ketchup, sugar, sweetener, soy sauce. Friends save these for me, we rarely eat out.
  • Dried or canned fruit
  • Hard candy
  • Tea bags
  • Hotel coffee
  • Drink Mixes
  • Instant cocoa

If I can find mess kits I include them. Or a small lightweight pan to heat water.
Grocery store bags to put everything in.

Baby Packs

Hygiene kit~ Babies can’t use some of the items in the kit, but the parents can.

12 Cloth and or disposable diapers. 12 diapers don’t seem like much but cloth can be cleaned and reused. Once a disposable is used, it is gone. Cloth diapers are hard to find, but can be cut and sewn from flannel. It only takes a few minutes to whip up some diapers if you are already sewing.

Three pieces of flannel, some thin plastic sheeting in the middle, sew it around the edges. Plastic pants to cover are a rarity now. You can add velcro tabs instead of using pins. Store bought Nappies are too costly. I used cloth diapers for all of my children. People will use what they have and be grateful for them. When I reach my goal of 25 completed baby packs I will start adding more diapers.

  • A small pack of wipes or a small baggie with a washcloth
  • 2 Diaper pins
  • Ointment in a baby food jar. Or a small tube. Find someone that is using baby food and get their jars.
  • Infant Tylenol~ If I can find it cheap
  • 2 receiving blankets
  • 2 warm blankets
  • 2 Pajamas or Onezies
  • Grocery Store bags for dirty diapers.

You could add half of a twin sheet to use as a snuggie. Make a triangle and snug (tie) baby to your chest. Sometimes I find formula in the clearance bins. New moms should be nursing. Period. I save formula for orphaned babies. It is surprisingly inexpensive to make these baby kits. A few dollars. Except for the Tylenol and formula.

Toddler or Kids Packs

  • Hygiene kit
  • Small stuffed animal
  • Dollar store items like a story or coloring book, crayons, bubbles.
  • Small flashlight/AA battery~ Can be a big comfort
  • Large t-shirt
  • Bootie socks
  • Small blanket.
  • Children’s vitamins
  • Food Pack

Female pack

  • Hygiene kit
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Condoms~Clearance bin with coupons.
  • Hair ties/clips
  • Vitamins
  • Book
  • X Large t-shirt
  • Socks
  • Small Flashlight/AA battery
  • Small tool kit~ Tape, zip ties, wire, paracord, fishing hook & line. A zillion things could be added.
  • Matches/toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint
  • Food pack

Pregnant Packs

  • The same as the Female pack, add…
  • Prenatal vitamins~ I found eight bottles of these in a clearance bin for $2.00/ $2.00 coupon each.

Baby kit

Small birthing kit~ Chuks pads, Sterile gloves, sterile plastic clamps, new sterile razor blade, for clean cord cutting. Bulb syringe. Small bottle of rubbing alcohol.These items I buy online. You can purchase an OB kit on Amazon for $6.00. I put these together from several sources for $3.00. Look around.

Babies born in austere conditions can easily die from tetanus or infection if the umbilical cord is not treated properly. Mothers are at risk of infection also.

  • Extra food
  • Extra feminine hygiene

Mens Pack

  • Hygiene kit
  • Condoms
  • X large t-shirt
  • Socks
  • Vitamins
  • Book
  • Toolkit
  • Small Flashlight/AA battery
  • Matches/toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint
  • Food pack

We buy as many backpacks as we can for these kits. The most I will spend on a backpack is $1.00. Friends save their kids’ old school backpacks for us. The yearly ski swap will donate leftover backpacks. Otherwise, the packs go into shopping bags. Plastic, canvas, anything that is free or inexpensive and sturdy.

I store everything in large Rubbermaid containers or boxes out of the way. I have one container that I dump items in until I have enough to make bags. Organized and clean.

You might wonder why I included t-shirts and socks but no other clothing. Pants size vary so much that I could not even begin to delve into that. However, t-shirts are almost a one size fits all if they are big. I find nice almost new clean t-shirts at thrift stores.

A pair of new socks are one size and can change your life! New socks are almost better than chocolate. Almost.
So far, I have 40 nice used clean blankets stored in space bags. 20+ coats and heavy hoodies in varying sizes.

I have not included anything that can be used as a weapon, or anything that can used against us. I don’t think anyone will attempt to throw flaming sanitizer soaked cotton balls at us. The razor blade in the preg pack could hurt someone, but if anyone in my group is stupid enough to let themselves get cut with a razor blade or stabbed with a fork from the food kit……need I say more? We haven’t paid thousands of dollars in training for one of my kids to get stabbed with a fork.

I have stored some inexpensive good hunting knives with fire starters, but will only hand them out if the correct opportunity presents itself. Case by case basis. These packs will not be handed out anywhere near our property, so folks will not know where to find more. Most likely handed out at a roadblock. We may end up donating all of them to a church, camp, or anywhere they would be helpful. They could be used as barter items. We may end up using them ourselves.

Other items that would be useful to homeless folks are tarps, plastic sheeting, rain ponchos, garbage bags, shoes, duct tape, the list is endless. Whatever you are willing to share and store.

I have 92 of these packs made up right now. We are usually able to build 5-6 a month. We date them to rotate out anything over 12 months by donating or repacking with fresh products.

We have donated these packs to the homeless shelter, womens/childrens shelter, to families that have lost their home to fire and tornado victims.

They can be also be used as an extra Bug Out Bag. Or a project for Scout Troops and Church Youth Groups. Helping others doesn’t have to cost a lot or take away from your own supplies. I incorporate this activity into my regular preps. Do what you can, when you can. Have fun with it.

We are happily open to suggestions for other ideas and items to include. Happy Prepping!

Contributor

This article was writing by a contributor to MDCreekmore.com. If you would like to be a contributor then please email us by using the email link in the footer below.

7 Responses

  1. JA Neigel says:

    Fantastic (sp) !!!! We are putting together BOB bags for Christmas gifts for some friends that are just now getting started prepping. The gal told me that they are so overwhelmed that she was thinking of getting rid of what she already put together (food Water). I told her to put it on hold for a week or two and see what Santa would say.
    I have given her a couple of printouts to read and told her to just think about what they say and she would wake up one morning and know just how to proceed.
    After I get this Santa present done for her, her husband, and teenage son I will start bags to give to those who need some help. I have a large tote that I put things in and will keep adding when I find them.
    Thanks for the lists, it will be very helpful

  2. CPT D says:

    I think that when and what to share with others is very personal and individual thing. Two issues that bother me when considering offering help to those outside your prepping unit is: What is really “enough” and when you start feeding others, how do you stop? While it may seem selfish, we have an infinite responsibility to ourselves and loved ones. The idea of how long a crisis may last and how far reaching will have a dramatic impact on your attempts to have “enough”. If you have 10,000 rounds for your rifle and you have reached a point where you are down to your last round, one could surmise that 10,000 was not the magic number. For those of us who have been at this for a while, I think it’s comforting to think that you’ve reached the “enough” point, but I also think that it easy to sell yourself short. The second issue of “when do you stop” feeding those outside your group is a tough nut to crack. If you give food to someone outside your group you have to be comfortable with the reality that 1) They’ll be back for more and 2) They will almost assuredly tell others about your benevolence. I admit that this is a moral and safety quandry but it’s one that needs to be discussed well in advance of being placed in that situation.

  3. Jeanne says:

    Care packages are all well and good it makes you feel good. What is that old saying Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him to fish you feed him for life.
    I’ve seen the worst of humanity, In a hospital you see it all and not just the patients but the friends and families. Whileyour givng theses care packages away what about that other family member who is thinking about how they can steal what you have. How to kill you and take what you have. Most grocery stores only have three days worth of food. When the mob shows at your door what do you do?
    I have seen people attempt to get patients sign wills on their death bed. I’ve seen them attempt to steal house keys. I’ve fed and cared for Border babies. Their mom’s come to the hospital and then after having the babies leave the hospital leaving their babies behind. 32 babies in nursery only 12 mothers and babies together. I’ve also carried dead babies to the morgue the mothers not staying around to even care. There are good people in the world but in general NO! My most important prepping is security. After living and working in our nations capital I couldn’t wait to get away from people. Yes, I’m jaded about humanity. I’ve seen it when times are good I am bracing for when times get bad.

  4. Horse says:

    I’m thinking of the muslims, even the Puerto Ricans that were gives clothing and food.
    Later piles of discarded food and clothing were found left behind rotting.

    All over Europe, mussies want cash, most the food they get is thrown out because they
    are economic migrants NOT fleeing violence.
    Not too hard to find that in the news if your not deluded.
    I have seen it in multiple articles.

    If you want to help then do so just watch your ass and have an exit when/if they get mad
    for not being handed everything they demand.
    I’m sure some will be grateful, the rest are problems.

    Charity? I\ll take care of my self and friends first.

  5. Mrs. B says:

    Great post! It is good of you to take care of others. I have freeze dried goodies I save. Extra blackberries, saved. Raspberries, saved. Peaches, saved. Our community is small and private. To come into our neighborhood you have to be from there or else someone’s gonna ask. It’s comforting sometimes, other times, a pain in the a**. If someone lost everything, I can start giving there. It takes little effort to do & it’s a blessing to those who need it. Thank you for taking the time to jot this down.

  6. Rick says:

    Great ideas for helping others in need of food, water and/or shelter. God bless you in all your efforts.

  7. Red C says:

    Thanks for a great article with lists for different kinds of people. Are the books intended to be a diversion or distraction from how bad things are? Or to teach something? I wonder, is there a booklet on the basics of gardening? I’m thinking of looking for New Testaments or small Bibles to give away. Also, I believe that condoms have an expiration date.