Sunday, February 11, 2018

Post-Collapse Charity

When it comes to charity in any SHTF/post-collapse world, there are two main schools of thought. In this article, I will examine both schools of thought, and then give my opinion of how to handle charity, pot-collapse.

Option 1)  No Charity - Take Care of Your Own

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." -- 1 Timothy 5:8 (HCSB)

Those of the "No Charity" school point out that it is a matter of security. You don't want your home or retreat to be overrun by refugees or looters, which is exactly what would happen once word gets out that you plenty of food and other stuff. Better to act like you are just another one of the starving masses, with nothing worth taking. 

Many of the "No Charity" folks also point out that you really don't have any excess to give out to hose in need. In truth, you don't know how long the collapse will be, or what your future needs will be. Your first priority must be your family/group, and you may actually end up needing that "excess" that you gave away.

Option 2)  Be Charitable - Help Those in Need

"Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share" -- 1 Timothy 6:18

"But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" -- 1 John 3:17

Those of the "Be Charitable" school point to a multitude of passages where the Bible teaches us, commands us, to be charitable and generous towards others, especially those in need - the poor, the homeless, and so forth. Furthermore, they say that being charitable can be done safely without endangering your family, or taking an unreasonable risk of running out of food and supplies too soon. This is particularly true if you plan ahead to be charitable, and know exactly how much you can give, to whom you will give, and how you will do so. 

My Thoughts

Both schools of thought on post-collapse charity make valid points. The Bible does instruct us that we are first and foremost responsible for taking care of our own. The Bible also instructs us that we are to be charitable and generous to others in need - even strangers. It is, in my opinion, a matter of balance. We must strive to rise to God's standards and do both to the best of our ability. But, how do we balance the needs of our family with the needs of strangers? This balance will be made especially difficult in the dire and unpredictable nature of a collapse.

Plan Ahead for Charity

The key is to plan ahead. You won't be able to figure out the best balance after-the-fact, when fear and other emotions will run wild.

In my planning, I  am not expecting massive hordes from the cities (see my myth of the golden horde article). Most people will die in the cities, waiting (and looting & rioting) for the government to show up to help them (learned helplessness). Or they will die while trying to escape the city. Frankly, I don't expect the vast majority to make it 20 miles out of the city before dying or being killed.* A few city folks will make it out, of course, but not the hordes of most preppers' nightmares.For similar reasons, I don't expect far flung relatives to show up at my door. My cousin and his family, who live in Chicago, will never make it to my home in North Carolina during a collapse, even if they wanted to come here. 

Instead, I expect we will be dealing with local folks (friends, neighbors, acquaintances) needing help, and maybe the occasional refugee. Those folks can be dangerous, since desperate people do desperate things, and we should be ready to deal with that danger. However, I think most will simply be pitiful. 

Ideas For Providing Charity

Church-based Charity - A church I attended many years ago had a small room where they stored old coats & jackets, blankets, canned and dried food, baby supplies, and other similar things. These were then given to the homeless or other people in need that would show up at the church from time-to-time asking for help. Your church could do something similar - storing supplies that could be distributed to needy folks in an emergency. Worried about break-ins or looters showing up at the church? Your church could come up with a plan to provide security at the church during a crisis. An added benefit of this is the church would then be able to act as a headquarters and communications hub for the entire congregation, or even as a temporary shelter for members.
Cache-based Charity - An idea I heard recently from Viking Preparedness (Pastor Joe Fox), is to set up a number of caches a couple of miles away from your home or retreat. When refuges show up, give them a map to the cache, along with a warning that you have no more supplies to share and will treat them as looters if they show up at your home a second time.With some supplies, your threat, and a couple of miles distance from your home, the refuges will likely continue onward rather than continuing to bother you. 

Supplies-for-Work - When a neighbor shows up at your place needing food or other supplies, offer them a job! "Split this wood, and I'll give you a bag of food." "Spend two hours weeding my garden, and I'll give you a bottle of aspirin." Or whatever. There will be lots of projects on your homestead needing to be done. Trading supplies for work will be of benefit to both parties. You might even be able to hire the right refuge or two to work on your homestead and help with security in exchange for room and board. Of course, be careful who you hire on, but not all refugees are bad guys. 

Give-a-Bag / Don't Come Back - Fill up a number of tote bags with some food, a couple of bottles of water, some matches, and a small first aid kit (the kind you can get at Wal-mart for a buck in the travel-size rack), and maybe even a Gospel of John. When refuges show up, give them a bag with a warning that you don't have much, and will not give them any more under any circumstances. Let them know you're armed and vigilant, and if they come back, you'll be forced to treat them as looters. 

A Final Note

Remember, we're talking about helping needy neighbors and true refugees, not gangs of armed thugs trying to take your stuff. You need to have a security plan in place to deal with looters and bandits with extreme prejudice. But neighbors and refugees you can deal with generously but firmly.  

* Do you really expect those folks who can't get around Wal-mart without an electric shopping cart to be able to hike out to your homestead? Most people are fat, unhealthy, out-of-shape, and totally unprepared to bug-out. Besides, by the time they realize that they need to get out, gas will be completely gone and the roads and Interstates will be undrivable parking lots.


  1. We come from the same place in the heart; however, other than the job for food option, caching, a give-a-bag, some center for relief such as your church-based idea I feel would unfortunately lead to over-run and your ruin. People are people. Meaning that anything got for free inspires the concept that the giver has more to give. Again, you've a good heart; it is just that you are in the minority

    1. Our church already has a similar program where we send funding to a local organization to provide for the needs of strangers looking for a handout. If someone comes to our church looking for assistance (it happens a lot). We direct them to the organization. Sometimes they tell us they've already been to the organization and couldn't get any help. The organization vets people before just blindly handing out support so this is a red flag to us that they are likely trying to scam.

      In a dire situation I think a similar approach would be best. The church donates any charitable items it has to offer to the town hall for distribution. If someone comes to your house you tell them "I gave to the church, check there". If they go to the church they will hear "we sent some items to the town hall, check there". If they get to the town hall and it's empty, they're out of luck. If they come back to you with a sob story then they are most likely scamming or have ill intentions.

  2. The scripture quoted "1 John 3:17" is referring to a "brother", someone known to you. Not an unknown.

    Not knowing how long the situation will last, I will be more worried about taking care of my family over a stranger.

    It does not take much to turn "good" people into bandits.
    Any show of "extra" supplies could come back to haunt you and force a "kill or be killed" situation.

    1. You are absolutely correct. Galatians 6:10 - "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

      Notice the first priority is to our Christian brothers and sisters.

  3. Most of us have very, very few actual friends. What most of us have are mere "pleasant acquaintances." These are our neighbors, co-workers, fellow parishioners, children's playmates' parents, etc. They are not your friends, and they will become dangerous to you in a WROL time. Help that sweet little old lady, and she'll be sure to tell her no-good grandson. Help that single mom with the hungry children, and she'll be back with her boyfriend and his friends. It is a dangerous delusion to think you can dictate terms to beggars, to think you have the power to set limits and boundaries with beggars. They will come back, and bring lots of people with them, and you do not have the manpower or firepower to hold out. In conclusion: Pretend to be in just as bad a situation as the beggars.

  4. Start handing out $1,000 bills to just some of your friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers - tell them to keep it quiet and hold your confidence ...

    Get ready for the freaking avalanche of "Why not me" pounding on your door looking for their cut - only human nature ...

    Substitute for food and starving & desperate instead of just greedy and you begin to see the problem - it can't be done without violence & death - maybe yours ....

  5. I agree with you about the lack of Golden Horde for much the same reason. The vast majority of city folks will sit and wait until it's too late and/or they're too weak to get very far.

    As for handing things out, modern human nature will be tough to deal with. The unprepared refugee types will likely be the sort who lived in the comfortable dependence of urban life. Once they find a source for meeting their needs. They'll be much more prone to return for more. After all, if you had enough to hand out, why should they keep wandering with no assurance of another handout?

    Even Jesus had to rebuke the 5,000 for only following after him because they wanted another free meal (John 6:26).

    The tougher part of providing charity will be chasing away the wannabe dependents.

  6. The unknown duration of a crisis is the main issue. Most who have prepared for the long haul have usually ignored the real threat to their stored munitions (first to go), food, medicines, fuel and clothing: the authorities. Martial law will quickly be the new law of the land and forced confiscation and redistribution of your assets will happen. It will be unfortunate and ugly. So reconsider your options of privacy and locations while the sun shines in Happy Valley.