CARE FOR THOSE IN NEED
I am putting aside "care packages" for those in need, I'm using heavy zip lock bags for grains and beans and such, then placing those bags in heavy tight sealing cans. I use tape to label how many it will feed for 3 days. ( got that idea from the hunger center they label 3 day supply in heavy brown bags). I'm hoping churches and agencies will be able to put aside extra. But we (the preparers) have to do it too. I was at an outlet/ discount place (Marcs for those N.E.Ohioans) they have $2.00 canned hams 1 1/2 pounds size - with a April 2001 expiration date so I'm adding those to my stash, along with canned Salmon and the ever present Tuna fish. I've managed to get good prices on beef for dehydrating and have 3 pounds (dried weight) of jerky and plain dried beef on hand here -
Subject: Food Co-op
From: "Robert Waldrop" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 17:23:28 -0500
As you know at various times and in various rants I have promoted the idea of food co-ops. One thing I'd like to see sprinkled through Kansas City by January 2000 are some small co-ops specializing in bulk foods, such as the tomato powder, cheese powder, and powdered milk we often talk about here.
I'm starting to boost this idea in the local community through a diocesan program, "Target North: The Church educating for Justice", which in the past has pretty much limited itself to sponsoring four lightly-attended forums each year. There seems to be some dissatisfaction within the group with that strategy, and some desire to do something a little more effective. The parishes represented here are among the more prosperous in the area.
Anyway, as part of this, I have been doing a lot of research into the bulk purchase of foods. The companies I have been researching aren't interested in selling to the general co-op, but they're willing to talk orders from a small "just-getting-started" co-op in Kansas City. "From small acorns do large oaks grow", one supplier told me.
Anyway, these are the kinds of prices I am finding:
Tomato powder, $2.73/pound (including cost of shipping, Chicago to Kansas
City, with immediate 24 hour shipping)
Dried egg whites, $3.00/lb (one pound equals the egg whites from 205 Grade A large eggs)
Crushed red pepper, $1.93/pound
I've got a pile of product lists on the way, including the complete array of dried foods typically available from the storage foods industry.
The way a food co-op works (or actually, one of several possibilities) is that food is sold at cost plus a few percent to cover overhead, plus the member volunteers X number of hours a month at the co-op. Non-members could purchase products at a slightly higher mark-up (since they aren't contributing volunteer hours), or members could have a choice, pay a 10% markup (as opposed to say 4%) and volunteer no hours, or volunteer two hours a month and receive a 4% markup. As a co-op, food can be divided into smaller containers and sold that way. E.g., the price for cinnamon above was for the 50 pound box. This could be re-packaged by the pound.
People who weren't in the area, for example, could order foods for the 10% markup (these are ballpark figures for the markup), so that the tomato powder would be basically $3.00/pound, including the shipping equivalent of Chicago to Kansas City, a bit higher if the shipping were a longer distance.
These prices are for the product in ordinary commercial packaging. Anything like buckets you'd be on your own with. So far, I haven't found better bucket prices than Walton's, but a co-op probably could beat their six week shipping time.
The product list would be somewhere around 50-100 basic items, similar probably to the "Money Saving 100" list which is on my Better Times web page, only instead of the fresh produce, dairy and meats, and canned goods, the dried/bulk equivalent.
If you're interested in something like this, please send me private email or discuss it in the list. I am especially interested in the amounts of various basic foods that people are interested in. There are some things that can probably be bought cheaper in bulk "at home", e.g., it's hard to see how I could beat Sam's Club or a local warehouse grocery's price for flour or beans, especially when shipping was considered, but some of the more price or hard to find items (like tomato/cheese powders, dried veggies, TVP, etc.) could be cost effective ordered from such a co-op. Plus you would have the added benefit of helping a grassroots economic empowerment effort for the poor.
STAY IN YOUR COMMUNITIES
Some of you here may not know this, but we (husband and I, our three children, their spouses, and our six grandchildren) plan to do as the Cassandra Project stresses, that being to stay in our community and work with the community for its survival and ultimately, we hope, our own in the bargain. We have an established bug-out place we can go to if social unrest threatens here in the outer suburbs of Chicago. But we don't plan on buying any farmland ...at least that is not in our plans as of this date. We remain flexible though, willing to change our minds on this matter given good enough reason. But for right now based on the information we have, our decision to stay put derives from our best "prayerfully- arrived-at" guess about how big this will get and what is the right and prudent thing for us to do in response.
Anyway, I am wondering if more and more people are getting seriously concerned about Y2K now than we realize. It could be that they are afraid to "come out of the closet" with it since Y2K had received bad press in some places. So, keep bringing up y2k with your friends, neighbors, business associates, fellow church members, and your family members. Give them an opportunity to express a change of mind.
THINK OF HELPING OTHERS
We're going to call a "Disaster Preparedness" meeting of our neighborhood and try to collect information such as how many houses are heated with woodstoves or alternative energy, how many homes have elderly, handicapped, etc., if an MD or someone else in the medical profession lives in the neighborhood, how many have generators, a stream nearby, etc. We will bring up Y2K but bill it as good info to have and a good dialog to start anyway in view of all the natural disasters that have occurred in many parts of the country. It may be good to be prepared.
We have also begun to think of our preparations in wider terms, such as, how much food can I store to share, when will I deliver a load to church before New Year's, can I heat my whole house that we can keep more people warm, etc. This really keeps me from worry.
We are also going to bring it up to our pastor and perhaps get permission to address the parish council and heads of various concerns in our parish so that we can at least get people to start making contingency plans.
Y2K AND THE CHURCHES
From: Christina Brundage <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 07 Aug 1998 23:08:43 -0400
I just finished taping the 700 Club y2k show "Y2K and the Church", and it was excellent. I think the problem was approached in a very realistic way - we don't know how bad it is going to be but we're not going to panic, we're going to prepare not only for ourselves but also for others. The best thing about the show was the emphasis on the opportunity for bringing Christ to others and for a revival of faith in this country. There was no talk of hiding out but of meeting the challenge in our communities. It profiled one church which is doing a fantastic job of storing up food, wood, etc., in order to look after the whole town! Wish we could see more churches involved like that. --