The first nationwide power grid drill slated to take place on November 13 and 14 highlights the need to live a more self-reliant lifestyle and stock up on the essentials. Beans, bullets, and bandages are of course a must. The 1-month food supply offered by eFoodsDirect is a great deal for both preparedness newbies and veteran preppers always looking for a good deal on essentials.
While budgeting for potentially life-saving staples and engaging in self-defense and survival training, don’t forget about the important role morale boosters play during a long-term natural or man-made emergency.
Board games, cards, candy, and flavored drink mixes are commonly purchased preparedness morale boosters. Advanced planning by the designated family or mutual assistance group “morale officer” allows for the organization of activities and storage of items that go far beyond the routine – and all on a shoestring budget. Finding ways to give children and teens a sense of normality should involve input from the youngsters themselves. Remember, the recovery time for a power grid failure could take a decade, so plan for babies that could be joining the group along the way as well.
Top 5 Morale Booster Items
1. Seasonal Crafts: Holidays could cause morale to slip significantly if not planned for long in advance. Filling plastic tubs with items specific to each major holiday will delight not just the youngsters, but offer a brief escape from the new reality for everyone in the family or prepping network. Craft supplies for children, teens, and elderly members of the group to make reusable decorations will keep hands and minds busy and offer a chance for storytelling, Bible reading, and singing while the artsy task is being completed. In the days following Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Thanksgiving, themed art kits are typically offered at 75 percent off, a great time to snag some foam art kits, ornament kits, egg decorating kits, and the like for next to nothing. Pick some pine cones and store them as well to add to the holiday decorations and ornament-making supply kit.
2. Education: Although children may complain about getting up for school, they will miss the experience when it becomes no longer available. Homeschooling families will definitely have a head start when preparing to run a classroom after a doomsday scenario occurs. Those folks who do not have an educational background or homeschool should find a local group to network and ask for tips for home education during a long-term disaster scenario. Homeschooling families are typically a very helpful group, and yes they will likely try to “convert” you, but it is unlikely that they will turn down an opportunity to help parents learn how to educate their children.
3. Movies: Start looking for DVD movies in big box store bargain bins and at yard sales. A movie night once a week for the adults or each evening for the children would be a welcome reprieve from chores. The frequency of movie watching would depend on the availability of power, of course, but would be the highlight of the week for many. A solar generator does not need store-bought fuel and can work even during cloudy and chilly weather, and definitely should be added to the top of the prepping essentials list.
4. Gifts with a Purpose: Even the children will need to learn or enhance skill sets during a SHTF scenario. A craft class geared to gift making can teach such skills and provide lovingly hand-made useful items as well. Put together kits which teach leather-making, basket weaving, candle making, soap making, and macramé items. The youngsters and those who are physically unable to complete manual labor tasks still be contributing members of the group and will take great pride in the items the produce. A little plastic loom which makes potholders is a great inexpensive kit to buy for young girls. A macramé plant holder would make an attractive herb or vegetable planter. The leather-making kit would make a multitude of gifts while teaching the user the skills necessary to repair or make a host of leather items which are needed around the homestead. Girls can also learn how to sew with a kit or a manual sewing machine which are often found at yard and estate sales. Grab clothes form the $.25 table at yard sales to use for material for blankets, shawls, and socks – such projects will not be too difficult for a novice seamstress.
5. Special Events: Birthdays and holidays are always highly anticipated times of year, not just for children, but for loving moms who typically plan months in advance of the annual celebrations. The Dollar Tree and similar $1 outlets are great places to stock on up birthday plates, gift wrap, reusable decorations, and tablecloths. Don’t forget to grab some treat bags which can be re-used and dozen-for-a-dollar goodies to put inside the bags for other children. Watch for sales on toys (or clothes and jewelry for teens) in shopping circulars or at yard sales to buy gift items to store away until disaster strikes. Don’t forget to plan ahead for anniversaries as well.
Monitor yard sales in your area to snag some cheap craft, games, and toy items. Even during the winter month church rummage sales and online “items for sale” pages on Facebook and Craigslist typically offer very budget friendly deals. Check out the after holiday sales at your local dollar stores for steep discounts on holiday items once the special date has passed. If we were forced into an 1800s existence after a power grid failure, your children or grandchildrens’ spirits will surely be lifted when you dig out the clearance rack Halloween costumes and boxes of Valentine’s Day party favors you scooped up for pennies on the dollar.
Library book sales are also great places to pick up educational and leisure reading materials for next to nothing. Develop an exchange network with friends and co-workers to swap items their children no longer want for some of your homemade cupcakes, babysitting services, or dog walking. Children’s educational workbooks can be purchased for specific grade levels for less than $20 from a teachers’ store. Chip in on some books and other learning materials with folks in your prepper group make your preparedness morale boosters budget stretch even further.