Several months ago I had a strong impression that my family needed to prepare for difficult times ahead. I spoke to my husband and we agreed do a food storage and home inventory to see what items we needed to stock up on! We made a list and purchased the items we needed in the event of an emergency in the coming months.
Ever since I was a child my family have practiced the principle of food storage. Whilst to some this may be a strange concept or something that sounds over the top, having a 3 to 12 month supply of food and products for the home is something I’ve always been taught to do.
Some call it a food store, others call it welfare, either way, food storage to me is a supply of the basic necessities stored in a cupboard or pantry for hard times.
As a child I purchased and stored spare cleaning products in a box under my bed in case of an emergency. As I grew, I helped my mum to organised food, seal grains in bags and cook meals from dried goods. We had a fantastic recipe for Chocolate cake made from food storage items. This was all part of our family welfare plan to prepare for potential difficult times.
My parents have always taught us to be prepared and store home products for times of emergency. One might consider an emergency to be a natural disaster, a flood or earthquake or even a Flu pandemic.
The reality is there are many more reasons to have a food store than for the extreme emergency that might not ever happen!
Today I’m going to share some examples from my life.
When I was two years old, my father went on strike. Dad was a miner during the time of Margaret Thatcher and in the 80’s coal miners were striking and money was scarce.
My Mother had been taught to build a welfare cupboard for hard times and she did. Mum was only 22 at the time but During the difficult years in the early 1980’s mum and dad were able to survive even without an income. They struggled but managed to put food on the table for me and my sister despite the financial stresses. This was in part due to having food storage.
As soon as I left home and married I began to build my own welfare and food storage. Although there never was a natural disaster, there were times when we had a very low income and having food storage allowed us to continue to pay our bills and rent without getting into debt.
As a single Mother in the U.K I again built a small food storage. I’d buy extra items when they were on sale and stock up a little at a time. This came in super handy when times got really tough! In fact, during the months leading up to my wedding I was able to rely on my food storage and this allowed me to put some of my income towards the wedding costs. We had a beautiful wedding on a budget and having food storage really made a huge difference.
Since marrying John we have always worked hard to build our food store. We buy extra items when we can and rotate them so they don’t go out of date.
Although we have not had an emergency, we have had friends who have struggled.
One friend had no income for many weeks whilst switching over to universal credit. We were able to take one of each item from our food storage and create a food parcel for this family which helped relieve the pressure.
We’ve been able to contribute to food banks each Christmas and of course rely on food storage when an unexpected bill has come our way.
For example the week Yoda our Bichon Frise became unwell, it cost over £500 and because we had food storage, we were able to fall back on that to help cover the shortfall in our finances.
Storing food for times of difficulty does not have to be a selfish thing and does not need to be done in a selfish way.
Having a food store allows you to help others around you when they are struggling as well as helping yourself. As you slowly build a store over time, you will have the items you need during an emergency or pandemic or a period of low income.
Building a food storage supply is not something you have to do overnight. You can buy extra items each week and build it up over time!
We like to buy in bulk as it’s cheaper and we also like to buy ahead because we never know when I will be too unwell to leave the home especially with chronic illness. My husband may need to stay home with me and having the items we need during sickness can take the pressure away.
Building a food storage also prevents panic buying when an emergency does happen! Over a month ago we visited our favourite shop and bought six packs of toilet roll! We did this knowing that was one expense we wouldn’t have to worry about for a few months! No one minded and there was still plenty of packs available for others!
Little did we know the Coronavirus would hit the U.K! We had no idea people would panic buy and that toilet paper would become a limited item that people would fight over. The good thing is we didn’t have to rush to the supermarket and worry about the shelves being empty – which was the case each time my husband has visited the supermarket for fresh items in the past week.
We also bought UHT Milk, flour for baking, beans, lentils and our favourite canned foods. I stocked up on bleach, cleaning supplies, hand gel and sprays. We have our storage prepared and we are using it to help keep grocery costs down during time of financial uncertainty.
Having adrenal failure means I rely on steroids daily to stay alive! I’m often housebound more than not and I genuinely have the weakest immune system! If I leave the home I usually catch a virus and become sick. Staying home is a safe option for me.
As the virus hit the U.K this month I’ve listened to the news and paid attention to the developments.
The reality is if I caught Coronavirus I probably would not survive. Even with a small virus I struggle to keep out of hospital and have to fight hard to combat the symptoms of low cortisol which lead to adrenal crisis and death. It’s not a joke, it’s the simple truth! Any added stress on the body puts my life at risk.
And so I find myself having to socially distance myself not only for Coronavirus but for any virus as any virus has the potential to put me in hospital.
As far as the world or the U.K. is concerned social distancing, closing schools, mass gatherings and events is one way to delay the Coronavirus from spreading rapidly.
Sadly for me, I socially distance myself most of the time anyway. I usually visit the supermarket once a month at least… as it’s something I enjoy doing. I make an effort to go to important events such as a parents evening or school play, but I also miss out on many events.
I love to attend church, however that is the one place I am most likely to catch a virus from. I almost always get sick after I visit church. In fact, it’s something I struggle with. I want to go to church but I don’t want to get unwell and put my immune system at risk. I try hard to attend when I am well enough but I do need to be aware of people with coughs and colds and try to avoid them at all costs.
With the Coronavirus, my church has been postponed until further notice. I can finally stay home without feeling guilty! However I shouldn’t feel guilty in the first place. If you’re sick you’re sick. I have a chronic condition and getting a virus can have serious effects on my family, especially if I end up in hospital or am bed bound and sick for weeks on end!
In fact… I’ve been sick with a virus for almost four weeks and have barely been able to do anything. Luckily like food storage prep, I prepared myself and have all I need at home to get through my period of illness. I have my medications and essential supplies and I have also prepared my blog with months of content to cover the weeks and days I am simply too unwell to blog.
Although social distancing is something I do a lot…. due to being so unwell and in an effort to protect myself I can still catch things from my husband and daughter. I can’t exactly expect them not to go anywhere or to have no life can I!
However with the Coronavirus things are more serious! My daughter will most likely be staying home from school in the coming weeks and John will be social distancing himself so we can try our best not to let the Coronavirus into our home!
I have a will prepared just in case but if we stay home and avoid as many places as possible the chances of getting Covid-19 will be less likely to hit us.
And this is where the prompting and feeling to store food comes into play! If we are going to do all we can to reduce the chance of Coronavirus then we need to simply stay home. We have our food storage ready and have begun using it!
John will visit the store for fresh items we really need but he will reduce this down to a minimum and we will do what we can to live our lives from home, me being sick in bed still recovering from an illness but knowing that we have the supplies we need in the home to get us through!
I guess every family is different and everyone has a different situation but food storage goes hand in hand with having chronic illness and needing to have supplies ready at home for times when I am or all of us are sick.