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dinner together

When it comes to preserving your preparations, your first line of defense will probably be keeping quiet.  Hiding your stuff and keeping quiet about it will keep you from becoming an easy target when the going gets tough.  Your second method for preserving your preparations doesn’t really sound like a method for preserving preparations at all, but it actually is: you need to plan to share.

Although giving your preparations away sounds like the opposite of preserving preparations, it isn’t.  Here’s why: preserving your preparations is not really about hanging on to every single item you have—it’s about preserving your ability to sustain yourself if (or when) you need to.  If you don’t plan to share, then if you lose any of what you have, you may not have enough.  If you do plan to share, you may or may not actually need to share, but either way, you have more of buffer to protect yourself.  And if you end up with extra stuff, you can trade some of it for other things that you want or need.

So, who should you plan to share with?

It really doesn’t matter.

In some cases, you may know that you have family and friends that are not adequately prepared.  It really isn’t in your best interest to have the people that are close to you be starving.  For one thing, you may feel morally obligated to help them, whether you actually planned to or not.  Even if your food storage is meticulously hidden, are you really going to feel just fine watching your extended family starve to death while you maintain an almost normal lifestyle?  (Probably not.)  But if you haven’t prepared to share, helping others will compromise your ability to take care of yourself and your family.  It may cause you to face some tough decisions.

There is another very good reason to plan to help your friends and family: they can help you.  People behave differently when they are starving.  If you’re not sharing food with your starving friends or family, they may do what they have to do to take it from you anyway, even if it means stealing from you or harming you to obtain your preparations.  When they’re trying to survive, or trying to keep their children alive, people will do whatever they have to do.  So, by planning to share, you can protect yourself from the people you are most vulnerable to.  Also, if sharing means that you have more people around your home, you will just have a bigger group “guarding” your stuff.  This will make it more difficult for other people to confront you or try to take your things.

You may also want to plan to share with strangers.  There are a couple good reasons for this: first of all, some people may not steal from you if you share.  There may be times when you feel like it is a good idea to share with someone you don’t know.  Second of all, other people may help themselves to your stuff, so you may “share” without intending to.  Your house may be looted, and thieves may take some of your preparations.  Hopefully they won’t find everything, because you’ll be storing things in multiple places, and some of it will be well concealed.  If you’ve planned to share, losing part of your preparations will not devastate you, because more than likely, you’ll still have enough to take care of yourself the way that you need to.

How much should you plan to share?

This is really up to you.  The way I see it, the more you can store, the better.  Depending on what types of things you’re storing, you may not want to store more than you can actually rotate, because you don’t really want to have things go to waste.

My husband and I decided that when we share with others, we will share meals, not cases (or even packages) of food.  It isn’t our job to prepare for other people, so by sharing meals, we won’t be taken advantage of the same way that we could be if we shared cases of food.  Friends and family will be less likely to depend on us exclusively, but they will know that we are there for them if they need the assistance.

We also plan to have people work for meals.  If (or when) we need to share with others, in most cases we plan to assign jobs to everyone that we feed.  That way, we get something out of the exchange, and the people that we feed will have “earned” their meal, so they will maintain some self-respect.  We think that if people are hungry enough, they will be happy to help out in exchange for food.  If we were not planning to share, we would not be able to offer this sort of exchange without risking our own survival.  Planning to share does not mean that we have to become a charity!

When my husband and I were deciding how much extra stuff to store, we thought about our family members who live nearby, and their levels of preparedness.  We do feel like we have some obligation to them if they are unable to take care of themselves, so that was a consideration.  I hesitate to mention online how much we decided to store for other people (see my previous posts in this series), but I’ll just say that it is better to have too much than not enough.  And now is a time where food storage and other preparations are easy to obtain, and cheap.

Encourage others to prepare.

Another way that you can “plan to share” is to help your friends and family understand their responsibility to prepare.  If your friends and family all have adequate preparations of their own, you are at a much lower risk of needing to share when times are tough, so it will be easier to protect your preparations from compassionate sharing.

You will need to strike a balance between “keeping quiet” and encouraging your friends and family to prepare.  On the one hand, you want them to know that you earnestly believe that it is important to prepare—so much so that you’re putting your money where your mouth is.  On the other hand, you don’t want them to think that their emergency plan should be to show up on your front porch when things are bad.

For my husband and I, we have done a few different things: first, we talk about preparedness in very rational terms.  We have conversations with our friends and family about the economy, and we talk about hyperinflation, and how it isn’t something new—it has happened in many other countries, even in recent years.  By explaining to other people why it is important to prepare, it is easier for them to catch the vision, even without much discussion about what we’re actually doing, or what we have actually done to prepare.

Another thing you can do is actually help your friends and family prepare.  We often give our family members Christmas gifts that are preparedness-themed.  Also, my sister and I used to go to a local cannery on a monthly basis.  She and I canned dry foods for her long-term storage.  We always enjoyed visiting, it was more fun to prepare together, and I was happy to spend time helping her prepare.  Doing that also helped her realize how important it is to prepare—once she started using food storage calculators, she realized that a few cases of food was only a drop in the bucket, and she began to think more seriously about her preparation (or lack of preparation).

These are only some of my thoughts about protecting our preparations.

Are you planning to share?  Under what circumstances will you share with others?  How have you decided what extra things to store?  I welcome your ideas about sharing preparations as a way to protect your preparations, so feel free to comment below!

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