I am putting together food stores, and collecting food grade buckets for bulk storage (local store lets them go for 60 cents each), but I had a question come across as I was planning this out.
Based on my own sense of charity, as well as your comments, I thought about a self-contained package that could be handed out, some rice, wheat, dried veggies and more, all sealed with a gamma lid using your dry ice method. Not only would this be good to avoid having multiple bulk cans open at once, but also as I said if people in need come asking, you can hand of 3-to-5 days food in one package.
Then I started thinking about comfort foods, pretzels, chips, candy bars and the like, and I wondered if you can actually put all of these different food products in the same can, separated into baggies, and if so, can you keep some foods like pretzels/chips or candy in their original packaging or repackage them in baggies? – Geoff in North Dakota
Using separate clear plastic baggies–or better yet mylar bags–within a sealed container is a practicable solution.
Distributing whole wheat is only marginally workable, since most folks are used to baking with wheat flour. But this raises two issues: If distributing flour, does the recipient have access to a working baking oven or Dutch Oven? In most disaster situations, that would be a rarity. And, if distributing while wheat, does the recipient have a access to a wheat grinder. Of course you could instruct them to make wheat berries (soaked wheat to eat as hot or cold cereal). But then they must have water available and at least 10 hours to soak the wheat. Because of the much shorter shelf life of flour (versus whole wheat), you might consider packaging the wheat in the form of freshly-ground flour, only on an "as-needed" basis, after the onset of an emergency.