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Community Survival: Bringing Friends and Family Into the Fold

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Community Survival: Bringing Friends and Family Into the Fold

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The challenges of living a self-sufficient, prepper lifestyle can be overwhelming when attempting to do it all yourself.  If you are lucky, you have a spouse or partner on board to share both the work and the joys of self-reliance.  On the other hand, I know from the many comments and emails that I receive that a good percentage of you are on your own.

Some carry the torch alone due to circumstance but others soldier along without assistance because family and friends scoff and consider them loony tunes.  Believe me, I feel your pain.

Community Survival - Bring Friends & Family Into the Fold |Backdoor Survival|

My goal this year is to bring together some of the brightest minds in the preparedness world to help us figure out how to bring a sense of community into our lives.  You have already heard from Richard Broome in his “Call to Action“, and my own plan for community survival is in the works.

Today, though, I want to share some wisdom from Jim Cobb, long-term survivalist and prolific author of some the best prepper books out there.  I recently reached out to Jim and requested permission to reprint the Appendix from his book, Countdown to Preparedness.  I chose this piece because, in those few pages, Jim laid down some rules for “Aunt Jane” and “Uncle Bob” who are assuming that they will show up at your door so that you can take care of them following a disaster.

He takes a novel approach and I think it is a good one.

Bringing Friends and Extended Family into the Fold

By now, you have friends and family who are aware of your prepping tendencies. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve heard at least some variation of, “If something does happen, I’m coming to your place.” As you continue on your path of disaster readiness, you’ll hear that quite a bit.

I’m a big proponent of community survival. By that, I mean I believe that the odds of survival are greatly enhanced when you have a group of people working at it, rather than just going it alone. So I’m not necessarily opposed to having certain people show up after a disaster hits . . . as long as they know what they’re getting into.

A fellow prepper, we’ll call him “Nick,” drafted a letter that he’s given to select family and friends. These are people who are likely to show up, and their presence would be welcome for a variety of reasons. Here’s my own variation on that letter.

Dear Family Member,

As many of you already know, I am actively preparing for potential disasters or crises that may be coming. While I am concentrating my efforts on more mundane situations, such as power outages or weather-related emergencies, I do not discount the possibility of a more long-term calamity occurring at some point down the road.

Should such an emergency come to pass, while I’d love to take you all in, provide for your needs, and keep you safe, I cannot and will not do that if it means placing my immediate family at greater risk. With that in mind, I am extending to you this offer. If you are willing to do at least some of the work involved with regard to prepping, specifically either purchasing supplies or providing the funds for me to do so on your behalf, I can properly package and store them for long-term use. Doing so will ensure we all have enough food, water, and supplies to make it through whatever life decides to throw our way.

I will also do all I can to help you properly plan for emergencies and prepare your own household for disasters.

Here is just a sample list of the types of supplies we will need, should a long-term event take place and we all end up under one roof.

Food Medical/First Aid Security/Defense

  • Beans
  • Prescription medications
  • Firearms
  • Rice
  • Bandages
  • Ammunition
  • Baking supplies
  • Various OTC medications
  • Cleaning kits and supplies
  • Canned meats
  • Gauze
  • Two-way radios
  • Canned vegetables
  • Ace bandages
  • Gun safes/locks
  • Honey
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Non-firearm weapons
  • Canned fruits
  • Burn creams
  • Peanut butter
  • Medical equipment
  • Coffee/tea
  • Canned soups

Storage items Clothing (for each person) Miscellaneous gear

  • Plastic bags
  • Outerwear
  • Bleach
  • Plastic buckets
  • Several pair pants
  • Oil lamps, wicks, fuel
  • Canning jars
  • Several pair underwear
  • Charcoal
  • Canning lids/rings
  • Several shirts
  • Toilet paper
  • Totes
  • Several pair of socks
  • Aluminum foil
  • Barrels
  • One or two pair of boots
  • Matches/lighters
  • Water filtration equipment

Again, that is just a small sampling of the supplies and equipment we’d need to provide for all of our needs. Adding just one extra mouth to feed, without having accounted for it ahead of time, substantially decreases the available food for all.

Here is what I propose. If you plan on showing up here after a major disaster, make it easier on all involved by either regularly contributing items such as outlined above or by providing funds every week or month for us to purchase supplies for you. The items purchased are and will always be yours, to do with what you feel necessary. For example, let’s say a year from now your employer downsizes the staff and you find yourself unemployed. The food purchased on your behalf can and will be made available to you as needed.

Consider prepping in this fashion like insurance against an uncertain future.

I would encourage you to give this some serious thought. Then, we can discuss the finer details. I’m sure we can work something out.

The idea here is to help these folks be accountable and get them involved. Explain to them that you’re willing to store the items and maintain them as needed, but they need to provide them to you.

In some situations, you may find a few of these folks are willing to just give you some money here and there for you to purchase items on their behalf.

Another approach is to explain to them that they can’t just show up empty-handed. You might give them a list similar to the above and explain that should they need to come to your place for safety, they should bring as many of those items as they can carry.

The idea here is to allow these friends and family members a way to be accountable for themselves, albeit with your assistance. This also serves to give you a clear conscience. You’ve taken the time to lay out exactly what they need to do in order to provide for their own needs should a crisis come to pass. The ball is then in their court, so to speak. If they decline the offer, so be it. It becomes their problem, not yours.


The Final Word

At the beginning of this article, I said that I feel your pain.  It is true that I have a husband on board with my prepping activities but other than that, no other family membersprep.  I have three local friends that are preppers and a few others that want to learn. Local “experts” who will go unnamed, want nothing to do with me.

Everyone else has told me that they will show up at my doorstep with the big one hits. Alas, they are in for a big surprise.

As we continue to explore community survival, I encourage you to share your own thoughts so that together we can learn from each other and move one step closer to earning the respect we deserve for having the foresight to prepare.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight Item:  Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper’s 52 Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness by Jim Cobb

This beginner’s guide to prepping shows how to create a self-sustainable home for surviving anything from a power outage to societal collapse. In just a few hundred carefully thought-out pages, Countdown to Preparedness takes you and your family from clueless to completely ready.

Bargain Bin:  

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: FAVORITE!   The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and save a couple of bucks.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.  Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant.  I can not recommend these enough.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultralight personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out.  It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.

One Second After:  For many, the novel “One Second After” was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared.    If you have not read this book, you really should.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: ANOTHER FAVORITE KNIFE! Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.  Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight:  FAVORITE! Here we go with another flashlight.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery. Pictured is one that I own in green but they come in basic black as well as some other colors.

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: I now own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.


A Practical Guide to Storing Food For the Long Term
99 cents for the eBook – also available in print!

When most people start thinking about family preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.

The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage is a book about food: What to store, how to store it and best practices. It is a roadmap for showing ordinary citizens that long-term food storage is not something that will overwhelm or burden the family budget.

This book is based upon my own tried and true personal experience as someone who has learned to live the preparedness lifestyle by approaching emergency preparedness and planning in a systematic, step-by-step manner. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming - you really can do this!


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35 Responses to “Community Survival: Bringing Friends and Family Into the Fold”

  1. I have a perfect prepper property for sale but I can’t find where to advertise it. Can anyone help?
    Thanks in advance!

  2. Thank you so much for the article. I just recently started prepping and feel that I have a good start. Although I’m no where near where I want to be. Recently my bf and I were talking with his sister and brother in law and they had been saying they needed to do something. As of yet all they have done is purchase self defense. His sister keeps saying that she’s coming to my house. I’m starting to get to the point that I don’t talk anymore about it with them. If they really were worried about something they would start putting aside food and such. I just can’t help the feeling that something bad is right around the corner. Thanks!

  3. Hey Gaye–Always love the thoughtful articles and your recommendations are great. I am reclusive by nature myself. People who, like us, keep to themselves are a mystery to others and so they feel a little (or a lot depending on their self-esteem issues) threatened. I say, spit on the so called experts. If you were closer to me…actually I don’t know where you are…I’d join up with you. I’m in AL on my little rural farm 25 acres of trees and a pond with fish, 2 horses and plenty of space to prep in.
    Right now, I’m experiencing a survival situation. Have been out of work for sometime & now, out of money. So far we haven’t gone hungry but only because of the preps I gathered. I don’t know how the situation will turn out but I know what’s in that pantry & I know what I can do to increase my odds of surviving. Lots of my knowledge I got right here! So, kudos to you for the site & your preps & if you need to come south for some reason, just shoot me an email & we’ll find a meet-up place.

  4. Well, I have a different take on this. Recently I was talking with my nephew and his wife. I point blank ask what his plans were and if I was included. He said I wasn’t. He would be getting his family out and away. Yes, he meant his immediate family that lived with him. At first I was hurt. As I have thought about it. There will also be many like him who will only be able to handle taking care of his immediate family. Is this wrong? Not to my way of thinking. He’s military trained and if that’s all he’s capable of doing w/o going on the edge or shutting down…then he’s up front and I know where I stand. Besides my daughter, he is the only family member local to me. So what’s to do? Build from what you know and seek as Gaye has already posted about. Remember, family is important. There may be others out there who need ‘family’ so spread your caring and those who are meant to be with you will find you or you them.

  5. The other day when we were having a conversation on chance, my mother in law mentioned watching a TV program of preppers and said how irresponsible they were for over purchasing food that the preppers could not possible use up. She is a Christian woman and so I quoted a phrase from the bible “God helps does that help themselves.” I further said that although chance plays a role on whether you survive a catastrophe, it our responsibility especially if one has children to be prepared to survive and help others. She was unresponsive. Do not know if she was thinking about what I said or just giving up.

    • You could take it back further, to Noah. Then there is Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and skinny cows…throughout the scriptures we are told to prepare for bad times because they ‘will surely come’. Even if she didn’t catch it right then. You planted a seed, so nourish it once in awhile if she is important to you. 🙂

  6. The blizzard Juno just ended here in the Northeast and as usual people were out “stocking up” before the worst of it came. I saw a lot of friends on social media talking about needing to do that and it always makes me laugh but also worries me. Unless the SHTF the same time as the storm we generally can’t go out for one day and lots of people don’t seem to have enough food to last that one day. I live in a semi-rural area of Maine and the longest I have been “cut-off” was 2 days due to downed trees. I wasn’t a prepper then but I had 4 small children and more than enough food for at least a week except for maybe running out of milk.

    My now 6 children are all grown and gone and they know if anything happens they are to come home with their family if they have one and no one else. I also stressed the importance of not telling anyone about my house. Several live away and earn good incomes, I like Gaye’s idea of having them stockpile at my home in advance either bringing it themselves on visits or my buying it. We don’t know what the conditions will be like when they need to travel here and they certainly can’t bring their supplies on foot.

    Thanks Gaye and everyone else who commented for these ideas. Now I just need to get the kids on-board. My husband and I can’t afford to prep for everyone and I feel like a weight just lifted from my shoulders.

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