What are your plans for those in need? Is it different if they are part of your group, family, neighbors or those passing through? What if you know people are in need but they don’t ask for help, like the elderly?
Of course, unless you have been able to keep your preparedness planning 100% secret, you are also going to have those family members and friends who have been reluctant to do anything themselves but say “we’re coming to your house.” However, you should use every opportunity, everyday events, to try and educate and help friends and family to at least start in the right direction. I usually find a family emergency planning, a contingency binder and emergency evacuation bag (i.e., a bug out bag) in case you have to leave your house suddenly are good starting places. Natural events such as hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires are good examples to use as they are in the news during those seasons. In winter time severe storms and power outages may be good examples to use.
Your planning should include an amount of food and other supplies in excess of what you calculate for yourself and family. A good number to use is 10%. Your goal is not to support these people, but to provide them some help until they can support themselves or contribute. Extra supplies should include seeds and other non-food items if the situation becomes a long-term event, such as a true SHFT. However, a true SHTF is an unlikely event, so have sufficient reserves to help neighbors might be a good thing.
Those Truly In Need
If you have done your area intelligence you should have identified those families that might need assistance and also identified potential areas that would make a suitable distribution point for community needs, after all you don’t want people at your front door! If your group has a designated location, then you will want to have a distribution point outside of your perimeter, or your neighborhood. Your area intelligence should have also identified locations that might be local suitable community buildings or locations as distribution/assistance points, like churches or a community center.
If you are providing meals then have a set schedule that people know when to come, you can distribute this to those who you know are in need. Be wary about distributing publicly as you might get people coming who really aren’t in need and create problems. If you are providing supplies, establish a location and a standard package that you will initially distribute. You could then have a request list and, if appropriate, arrange distribution.
There are going to be people in your community, such as the elderly, who are not going to ask for help. Again, if you’ve done your area intel you know your neighbors. In this situation you might want to leave an anonymous package. You also might want to check in on them directly to see if they have medical or caregiver needs that you might be able to assist with.
The medical or caregiver needs could apply to others that are passing through your community. As with the food and supplies you might want to set up an ‘aide’ station outside of your perimeter at specific times so you don’t have to bring them ‘inside.’ As with all these situations you will need to make sure you have adequate security to protect your medical or other personnel and supplies.
Of course, a lot of this is going to depend on the specific situation. If it’s a local disaster, such as a tornado or earthquake, then help will be coming from ‘outside’ so your planning will be short term, perhaps 72-hours. In the case of a major hurricane or earthquake then it could be 5-days before ‘outside’ help arrives, depending on the amount of damage to roadways etc. In these situations, you will need to establish care or aide and food stations only until help arrives.
Help Them Help Themselves
For more permanent types of disasters (the true SHTF) then you should do what you can to teach others to help themselves, and possibly your community, to be self-reliant. This could come in the form of medical aid classes, communications training, gardening, preparing food for groups and other activities that support the group and community. Everyone has something they can contribute, from day-care, mending clothes, etc. In these situations, supplies should be available to give these folks a start, such as gardening tools and training supplies, etc. Part of your planning as a group should be to identify people with skills who can teach subjects or have non-traditional skills that would be useful.
Remember that many people want to be useful and help in a disaster but there are those who will take advantage of anyone, you will quickly weed those people out. If a person can feel that they are contributing to the community then they will view being helped as ‘hand-outs.’ Do what you can to make people feel that they are part of the community, but at the same time always be careful about what you reveal about supplies you and your group may have.