Call us preppers or survivalists, we're all preparing to help ourselves and our families during the difficult times ahead. But how many of us are you preparing to help those in need? To help our neighbors who didn't prepare? Or even to help complete strangers?
Those of us who are Christians need to be prepared to help others, not
just ourselves and our family or group. Yes, our first priority should be our
family, but as Christians that is not our only priority. Throughout the Bible, we're taught the value of helping others, and especially helping those that cannot help themselves, or who have lost their natural guardians. The oft-given example is "widows and orphans." But, really includes anyone who is unable to help themselves for whatever reasons. Consider what James writes in his general epistle:
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only... Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (selection from James 1:22-27)
What James is getting at (and please read his entire epistle for yourself - it is short), is that we are expected to live out our faith, and not just pay lip-service to it. James gives three hallmarks of faith that is pleasing to God. One of which is to take care of the poor and needy. We (faithful Christians) are expected to be their guardians.
The mark of a Christian prepper, in my opinion, is in our preparations to help not only ourselves and our family or group, but also to help those in need, such as widows and orphans.
Expanding Zones of Responsibility
Think of expanding zones of responsibility. Our first zone of responsibility is to our immediate family. When difficult times come, we don't want to make things worse by being in need ourselves. By preparing and building self-reliance, we not only remove the burden from others of our needs, but are then able to be in a position to help others. This is especially true of men. A man's first earthly responsibility is to take care of his wife and family (his first overall responsibility, of course, is to obey God in all things). One of America's greatest sins in recent decades is the failure of most men to live up to these responsibilities but that is a different article.
But we are not to use "taking care of our family" as an excuse to avoid our other zones of responsibility. The second zone of responsibility is to our fellow believers, particularly, of course, those that cannot help themselves, such as orphans and widows. The third zone of responsibility is those strangers, including non-believers, that cannot help themselves for whatever reasons. Note well the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Ideas for Preparing to Help Others
Several years ago, I read or heard about an older couple who are preppers. Even though this couple had no children or grandchildren, they included in their stockpile of food and other supplies many baby items, such as diapers, baby wipes, bottles, and whatever else... Sorry. I don't remember the specifics of what all they stored. I just remember "baby stuff." The point is, these items were totally superfluous to their needs, yet they stored them anyone because they figured that there would be a need for these items by parents unprepared for bad times.
Here's another idea taken from a real life example: 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. There were no strings attached - folks didn't need to be a member of that particular church, or even have to be a believer, in order to get help. Your church could do something similar - buying and storing supplies that could be distributed to either church members and/or needy folks in an emergency.
I know also that there are some peppers who are planning for when distant relatives or friends show up unexpectedly at their homestead or retreat once the stuff hits the fan. Rather than greeting these needy people with a shotgun and running them off, these preppers have taken steps to prepare to accommodate a certain number of folks by storing extra food and supplies, and in some cases even preparing housing for them in the form of campers, trailers, or small cabins on their property. There are actually some You Tube videos of how to turn storage sheds into a small, but very livable, cabins.
Another idea, to help those folks you must turn away, is to set up a number of small survival packs to give folks. You can buy small inexpensive backpacks at Wal-mart for less than $10, especially during back-to-school season. Then fill these packs up with a couple of bottls of water, some basic foodstuffs (Cliff Bars or other protein bars, packs of raisins, nuts or seeds, individual foil packs of tuna or chicken, a small jar of peanut butter, etc.). Add an emergency poncho, some basic first aid supplies, matches, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, washcloth, and other inexpensive items. Check the camping & outdoors section of Wal-mart, as well as the travel-size aisle for inexpensive supplies. I figure you can put together a fairly decent pack survival for under $20.
All these are great ideas for preparing to help others in a SHTF situation, and I'm sure you can think of others. But don't forget to help people now, before any collapse or SHTF event. Lots of people are hurting and in need today. Community food pantries, hospices, and crisis centers are always in need of supplies and physical help (volunteers). Faith-based organizations such as the Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse, Operation Blessing, Catholic Charities USA, and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), help on a national and global level, are in need of donations and volunteers.