A lot of people have been members of preparedness groups for quite some time. While some groups may have been just casual meetups once in a while, others were seriously training and getting together on a regular basis.
A pandemic is not necessarily the event that most groups considered likely. This is not an event where people can all feel good about gathering together to ride this thing out.
But that doesn’t mean that prepper groups cannot offer a ton of support and help to one another. This article is going to talk about what prepper groups can do to support one another during this time of social distancing.
Learn skills via video
Prepper groups often have people with a huge variety of skills and knowledge. If each person takes a turn offering an online webinar, then everyone can use this time to learn and come through this even more prepared than ever. Some of these classes could even be added to your homeschool curriculum where appropriate.
Have some classes that are designed to help entertain and offer constructive activities for the teens and kids of those in the group.
While kids are going to have some homework to do, I know from my own homeschool experience that doesn’t take up anywhere near the entire day. Kids are going to need things to do and if you don’t want them to spend all that time watching television or playing video games, then you are going to need to give them some other constructive options.
Check-in on each other. Sometimes it is nice to just know that others are thinking about you.
The pandemic is making it so that people are suffering from extreme stress and anxiety. For many, there is a lot of uncertainty. Regardless of where you get your news, there has been an overwhelming amount of information and some of that info changes faster than you can keep up. There has also been planting of conflicting information.
When people don’t know what is true and a lot of promises are being made that it is impossible for any human being or government to be able to guarantee them, it can feel scary and lead to extreme stress. Poor mental health can affect your body and immunity.
Talking to others through this hard time, especially friends can help. Isolation can be very hard on some people that are older or those that live alone. I would not be doing so well with isolation if I did not have my husband right here with me and my father very nearby.
For many people, this is the first time they have had to cook with at least some basic foods or be responsible for all the meals consumed. If you get takeout or deli food 5-7 times a week, it is a big change to suddenly have to take care of that yourself and plan your day so that you have time for it.
Getting creative with all those prepper foods you have stashed back can make eating a more enjoyable experience. Variety helps more than you might realize. There are ways to make comfort foods from very basic things with just a few skills and some knowledge.
Some prepping groups have communications procedures and codes in place. Now is a good time to practice those skills. Some people are getting more into shortwave radios and learning how to operate a HAM radio.
Have podcasts and other live events that the whole group can tune into or join in on. A live chat can add a lot.
The Prepper Broadcasting Network has a live chat room for all their live podcasts. This gives people a chance to ask questions and be involved but also to interact with each other while the show goes on. While I advise tuning into their programs, there is no reason why a prepper group cannot do the same thing for their members. ZOOM and other software programs can help make this easier.
While having a main topic can be helpful, there is no reason why you cannot just have times that the meetups are just everyone chiming in on whatever they want. The bigger the group the more important it may be to at least have a theme for each show because it can get to be a little much if there are too many things being addressed at once.
Discord is an easy to use chat server for prepper groups to use. You can designate channels for certain topics and even have some channels where only certain people can post. This can help keep things organized and allow people to focus on specific categories of preparedness that is relevant to them at the time.
Let’s talk about barter and trade via social distancing.
For most people, barter, and trade while staying isolated is going to be hard or impossible. I have been trying to think of ways this could be accomplished if necessary. I have come up with two ways that allows for social distancing while trading with members of your group that are close enough to do any business with.
Drop Off and Pick Up Points
Most people have cell phones they can use to coordinate. If person A comes to person B’s house to drop off and pick up, Person A could have what they are giving to Person B in a plastic tote or similar. Person A could take that tote and leave another tote with what they had to trade.
Both parties should sanitize their packages before use. All of this should be done wearing gloves too. This way of barter requires some level of trust because technically something could rip the other person off.
You may want to make the first trade a small one to see if the person actually trustworthy. Not to say they couldn’t rip you off the second time but it is a good way to at least test the waters before you proceed more.
Alternatively, person A could agree to get in their car and stay a safe distance away each party could glance at items for trade while wearing personal protective gear to ensure that everything is OK. It all depends on just how much trust you have for one another.
Barter Through Mail or Shipping?
I think that bartering or sending things to others through the mail is worth talking about but has some other risks. For starters, it is possible that something like medical supplies or other hard to find items will get stolen. You have to consider that your package will be going through mail centers that could have COVID-19 infections or contamination issues.
This means that packages will have to be cleaned and possibly quarantined for days after arrival. There is also the issue of trust of course. What if you send someone something and they never send what you traded for? If you have extra supplies and someone has money to buy things, you might consider using Pay Pal or similar rather than barter. Some people may want to just send some supplies to loved ones as well.
Exercise Together and Talk Via Online Video or Voice Chat
Ahh, the world of video conferences and webinars. Physical fitness is important and it is a lot easier to stick to if you have others to help you out. Why not plan some time a few times a week or daily for those interested and get together online and talk and exercise? There are tons of videos on Youtube or guidelines for exercises for those of all abilities. Everyone doesn’t have to do the same exercises.
This is more about developing routines and supporting one another on the path to better health and possibly coming out of quarantine in better condition. Remember that there are plenty of people that had very physical jobs so going to a suddenly sedentary lifestyle can cause unwanted weight gain and impact substantially impact mental health.
If your group has a shared faith or can agree on a non-denominational online service or prayer, it is something to consider.
A lot of people are not able to go to church due to COVID-19 social distancing rules. Some churches are still having services online but others have not. If your prepper group consists of a lot of people of faith, you might consider a weekly prayer or something like that. There may be some members that want to read some verses or similar. It is just an idea in case that is something you are missing. Todd Sepulveda of The Prepper Website does an online service every Sunday at 10 am CST.
If you are not a member of any prepper groups, consider joining an online one during your stay at home time.
There are a ton of prepper groups on social media. If may take some time to find the right one for you. It can be a good way to interact with other preppers and find like-minded people to share knowledge with.
Set up a mental health support network.
How many of us have told someone to call day or night anytime if they need someone to talk to? A huge problem right now is that people are experiencing high levels of stress and that is causing some concerning mental problems.
The suicide rate is actually going on the rise. Factor in that suicide is always a major cause of death in the United States. Plenty of people were on the edge before a pandemic got declared.
During a disaster of any kind, a major problem is people not able to accept the new reality and then move on. This is understandable. A lot of people have lost their jobs, loved ones, and are facing a world of uncertainty due to COVID-19.
If you have a prepper group, now is the time to set up some type of system so that there are always a few people that are willing to take calls and help others through those tough moments. Yes, there are hotlines available but those on the other end are strangers and while they mean well, it is not like having someone you know to talk to.
On top of that, there is a chance that the helplines that are available to those that are stressed will be too overwhelmed to take a call when it is needed the most.
We don’t know how long this is going to last so we must be supportive of one another.
People can offer all kinds of predictions to make us feel better but while pandemics pass and do not last forever, they can go on for a long time or come in waves. There are too many factors to consider for accurate predictions.
Pandemics are a crisis where so much of what happens depends on a ton of other people and their everyday actions. That is hard and it makes people feel powerless and often angry. You can only do so much. We all need to do our part and realize that this is not just about us as individuals or even just our own families.
There is a lot of blame going around but who caused this or that. There is a lot of gloating and smugness too.
I wish I had been wrong about the need to prep for SHTF. I don’t feel glee at being right about prepping for a SHTF event despite the name-calling and people thinking I was a fearmongerer or wacky.
For those that have had their moment of feeling right or vindicated and felt good about it, I ask you to move past that. Stop talking about how vindicated you feel on Facebook. Contribute something meaningful to the dialogue.
Let’s try to support each other in the best ways we can. Now is not the time for arguing about politics. While I realize there are politics involved with some of the decisions, it is a slippery slope. It is too easy to find yourself concentrating on politics and blame game.
No matter who you are, there is no way that COVID-19 is not going to affect you in some way. For some, it will have more of an effect than others for sure but all of us that get through this, we will be awakening to changed world.
Don’t get caught up in the hate and blame.
Try to look away from the computer.
Remember what is important and what makes you who you are.
Spend time with your family. Try to take a deep breath and exercise some tolerance.
Pet your dog.
Read that book.
Let’s also remember that some of the “people” out there that are commenting are not actually real. There are a lot of fake comments and opinions. Of course, there is no way for you to know if they are paid by others to say disparaging and hateful things. What you can do is not let them get you caught up in it.