Charity in Disaster Situations–Insuring the Cohesion of the “We”

At the risk for sounding preachy, I’d like to re-emphasize the importance of storing extra logistics so that you can be charitable when disaster strikes. Charity is Biblically supported, and makes common sense. (I strongly advise it, regardless of your religious beliefs.) When the Schumer Hits the Fan (SHTF), you will want neighbors that you can count on, not people that you fear or distrust. By dispensing copious charity to your neighbors that did not have the same foresight that you did, you will solidify them as strong allies instead of envious potential enemies. In describing communities, psychologists and sociologists often talk in terms of the “we/they paradigm”. Typically, this is used in a negative connotation, such as when they describe racism. (And rightfully so–I loathe racism.) But I can see something positive in building an appropriate “we/they” distinction during a societal collapse–the distinction between your local community and predatory outsiders. Just ask anyone that has ever lived “inside the wire” at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Iraq. Those soldiers will tell you that they felt a strong cohesive bond, and were absolutely determined to repel anyone that attempted to attack their FOB. Their steadfast resolve can be summed up with the words: “They are not getting through the wire. Period.” Dispensing charity helps build a cohesive “we” and draws into sharp contrast the “they.” (In my view of the near future, the “they” will likely be roving bands of criminal looters. Imagine a situation like in the movie The Road Warrior, and you are inside the perimeter at the refinery. Can you see the appropriate “we/they”?)

By logical extension, you can dispense significant charity only if you have it to give. Clearly, you must stock up above and beyond your own family’s needs. So, for example, if you calculate that you need 300 pounds of wheat for your family, don’t buy just 300 pounds. Instead, buy 600, 900, or even 1,200 pounds. That might sound expensive, but presently you can buy 50 pound sacks of hard red winter wheat for around $7 to $8 each. About 45 pounds of wheat will fit in a plastic 6 gallon food grade bucket that costs just over $2. Or even if you pay more to buy wheat that already packaged for long term storage in buckets (from a vendor like Walton Feed), a 45 pound bucket of wheat still costs just $17.15. Beans and rice are similarly priced. Consider that extra food as a key to building a “sense of community.” Even for even those of you that are non-religious, dispensing charity will be part of your “we/they paradigm” insurance. If purchased in bulk quantities, it is also cheap insurance. Don’t neglect buying your family that insurance! OBTW, speaking of wheat, the threat of the wheat “super-blight” is looming. This makes it urgent for families to stock up.

Where is the Biblical support for charity? It can be seen throughout the Old and New Testaments. Remember the Bible’s guidance about leaving unharvested rows of crops, to benefit “gleaners“? For example, see Leviticus 23:22: “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” (KJV)

The Old Testament law regarding charity can be found in Deuteronomy Chapter 15, verses 7-11 (KJV):

15:7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
15:8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
15:9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year [of Jubilee], the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
15:10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
15:11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

From these verses it is it clear that we will always have poor people in our community (“the poor shall never cease out of the land”), and it abundantly clear that it is our duty to help them (“Thou shalt surely give…”) End of preachy mode. My apologies if this offended those of you that aren’t Christians or Jews. But again, even folks that are strident atheists should see the wisdom of having extra food storage to provide for charity. It is in your own best interest.