Emergency Food Supply

Top 10 Emergency Food Resources You Need to Know About Stay Prepared and Stay Alive


We inhabit a world of natural disasters, pandemics, and other calamities. To remain safe and healthy, having a plan and resources for emergency food is essential. This guide outlines the top 10 must-know emergency food resources.

In case of an emergency, having the correct info can be the difference between sustainment and struggling for months. Here's a background on some of the main forms of emergency food assistance and other useful resources.

This guide looks at:

  1. Local Food Banks
  2. Online Delivery Services
  3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  4. Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)
  5. WIC Programs
  6. Emergency Shelters & Soup Kitchens
  7. Community Gardening Initiatives
  8. Home Canning & Preservation Methods
  9. Military Rations
  10. Adopt-a-Friend Services

Emergency Food Storage

Essential for surviving disasters: an emergency food supply. Identify the most reliable sources to guarantee safety. Proper storage of food is key. This article discusses the top 10 emergency food resources. Moreover, we offer tips for storing food safely.

Canned Goods

Canned goods can be an awesome addition to your emergency food stores. They offer nutrition for times of economic or health crises, or natural disaster. Plus, they last longer than most other foods.

When selecting the best canned goods, consider:

  • Types: Veggies, fruits, soup, beans, fish, pre-made meals like chili and ravioli.
  • Quality: Low sodium and no added sugar.
  • Safety: Avoid damaged cans and rust or swelling.
  • Shelf Life: 3-4 years, some up to 5 without refrigeration.

However, canned goods often miss out on dietary fiber. So, supplement these with nuts or dried fruits.

Freeze-dried Foods

Freeze-dried food is great for emergency supplies. It lasts many years when stored properly. Fruits, veggies, meats and grains are all part of this nutritious lightweight package.

To make freeze-dried food, fresh ingredients first get flash-frozen to -40°F. Then the ice is removed in a vacuum chamber, using just a bit of heat. This keeps most of the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and flavor.

It has a longer shelf life than regular dehydrated foods. This is because oxygen is taken out from the packaging, and starchy foods don't need liquid to rehydrate. The shelf life can be up to twenty years.

It's great for stews, soups, cereals, desserts, sauces and main meals. But if you want veggies, pre-cook them before freezing. Then rehydrate with hot water or other liquids to make delicious chowders with a creamy texture!

Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated foods are a top pick for preppers when it comes to emergency food storage. They last longer, hold no water and take up little room. Jerky, fruit leathers, powdered milk, instant potatoes, freeze-dried or air-dried fruits and vegetables are all examples of dehydrated foods.

Drying out food is a great way to preserve it. Heat destroys the food’s enzymes, stopping mold, fungus and bacteria from growing during storage. Plus, dehydration stops spoilage due to air and light.

Dehydrating has many benefits over canning or freezing.

  • No special tools or prep are required.
  • Plus, you don’t need to chop or puree the food before drying it.
  • It does need water added back to make it a meal – this takes around 20 minutes – but it will taste like the fresh version.

Put dehydrated food in an airtight container – like a glass jar – and it can last up to 30 years. This makes it a great choice for emergencies and budget-friendly meal planning.


MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are great for any emergency. Military personnel in global combat zones use them frequently. You can store and prepare them easily. You have the option of buying MREs ready-made or selecting components, like freeze-dried meals, rice, snacks, and beverages, and assembling them yourself.

MREs provide a range of meal choices that don't require cooking. The calories in them will give an individual energy for the whole day. Most MREs have an expiration date of 5-8 years, and offer enough nutrition for one person per day. They also have a flameless heat source so you can warm your meal if you like.

Non-Traditional Food Sources

No matter where you are, to be prepared for an emergency, you need to prepare for a possible disruption in food supply. Get supplies from traditional sources like grocery stores and farmers markets. But, it's also good to know about non-traditional sources.

Here are the top 10 emergency food resources that could be helpful in an emergency!

  • Gardening
  • Fishing
  • Foraging
  • Dehydrating and Canning
  • Preserving
  • Raising Livestock
  • Hunting
  • Freezing
  • Bartering
  • Food Banks


Foraging is the search for wild food to satisfy life's basic needs. It's an ancient and essential human activity, some cultures relying only on what their environment offers. Although foraging can be a great food source in an emergency, it is not always safe to consume these items without proper identification.

When foraging, these safety guidelines should be followed:

  • Check that plants are edible according to reliable sources.
  • Search for items in areas with little human activity, far from industrial sites.
  • Never take plants from public land where they are endangered.
  • Take precautions when collecting and storing to avoid bacterial contamination.
  • Don't eat anything if you can't identify it.

Seaweed: A source of vitamins and minerals found in warm waters. Edible varieties include Kelp, Wakame and Nori. Before harvesting, find guidance as some species contain toxins like arsenic or mercury which can be harmful when consumed over time.

Nuts: A great source of plant protein, essential fatty acids and minerals. Common types include Hazelnuts, Acorns, Pine Nuts and Brazil nuts. Hazards include choking from large shells, or toxins from fungal growth on stored nuts.

Fruits: They provide essential nutrients, dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidant compounds which can have health benefits. But overconsumption may lead to mild side effects like loose stool due to their high sugar content.

Mushrooms: Many mushrooms are toxic, but some can make delicious dishes that provide protein, carbohydrates, fats, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Before using them for culinary purposes, consult an experienced mycologist as consuming the wrong varieties can be very dangerous. Precaution is key when identifying mushrooms outdoors.


Hunting is ancient and a great food source. You can get protein and clothing, tools, and shelter from wild game. It is free of hormones and GMOs, unlike store-bought meat. Wild game is often ready-to-eat, however, some animals may need special prep.

Animal options vary by location.

  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Deer
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Rabbits

are some of the choices. To hunt legally, you need a license from the natural resource agency in your state. Know game types and areas, and never poach!

For safety, follow rules of local conservation officers and camping regulations. This applies in-season and out-of-season.


Fishing is a great way to find food. You need knowledge and the right equipment to succeed. It's a great option in a survival situation or if you want something to add to your diet. Many lakes and ponds are stocked with fish, so finding them is half the work. Live bait near bodies of water can also help. Fishing for edible fish with hooks or nets can be fun if done correctly. Check local regulations before you use any rivers or streams. There may be seasonal restrictions. Common edible catches include bass, perch, trout, and panfish.

Non-edible fish can be used too. Skin and gut them, then feed them to snakes, lizards, and rodents. Fish provide nourishment quickly, so they're great resources when you're in unfamiliar places. Don't overlook them.

Community Resources

Uncertainty strikes – but there is help! Accessing emergency food is key for safety and survival. Here are the top 10 emergency food sources, with the amazing benefits they offer:

  1. Community resources are available to those who need assistance – make sure you take advantage of them!

Food Banks

Nonprofit organizations, food banks, distribute food to those in need. These are usually local or regional. Other items such as hygiene and pet food are also provided.

Millions of meals are given daily. They also help low-income families by providing tuition support for afterschool classes, job training and financial literacy.

When visiting a food bank, some offer traditional pantries, where families can get food for two weeks. Others offer an online order system.

In times of disaster, food banks are available. However, criteria must be met to get assistance. This is based on residence address or zip code.

Soup Kitchens

Soup kitchens are places that give meals to those in need, for free. They can be run by religious organizations, charities, or public service groups.

Food is prepared and served at the kitchen itself or delivered to those without homes or living in poverty. Kids who might not get enough nutrition are also fed.

When visiting a soup kitchen, you may see volunteers and staff prepping lunch, serving food, cleaning, and offering social help. They may also help with paperwork, like applying for health benefits, or connecting people to local services.

On the menu are hot meals with proteins and vegetables, plus breads and desserts. Variety is key, but it depends on donations from businesses or food banks and gov't sources.

In some parts, there are mobile soup kitchens that travel to give out meals. These are great for rural areas facing economic hardship, or urban spots where permanent spots have closed.

Church Pantries

Church pantries offer food to local hungry people. They can provide canned goods, frozen items, fresh produce and hygiene products. Most are donation centers too.

In some areas, churches work together as a network, known as a Food Bank. To find pantries in your area, check with your local church or religious groups. If you don't know anyone, check for postings at public locations in your neighbourhood.

Emergency Preparedness Kits

Emergencies require preparedness. An emergency kit must have food items to survive a disaster. This article helps you by outlining the top 10 food items to include. It also explains the nutritional value and how to store them for maximum life.

DIY Kits

When building a DIY emergency preparedness kit, you need to provide food. Snacks like dried fruits, hard cheese, nuts, beef jerky, canned tuna and other proteins are great nutrition options. Meals should include instant rice with veg, oatmeal with dried fruit, and Instant Potato Flakes.

Protein-rich canned diets like tuna/salmon in water or chicken in water are best. Beverages like unsweetened powdered milk, tea/coffee bags and Kool Aid make survival scenarios more enjoyable. If space permits, water bottles can be purchased in advance.

Pre-packaged Kits

Preparing for an emergency means having pre-packaged kits on hand. These offer a range of food, materials and items necessary for any disaster. When selecting a kit, think about family size and how long you may need to survive.

Popular kits come in 3- or 4-day supply boxes. They contain water, food, shelter, medical supplies, flashlights, work gloves and hygiene products. Be aware of expiration dates.

Consider longer term supply boxes with more provisions. Depending on climate, certain supplies are required – e.g., blankets for colder climates, items to combat flooding for the coast.

It’s good to know the kind of emergencies likely in your area and purchase the appropriate kits. Store them someplace safe and easily accessible. Be prepared – you never know when an emergency may strike!

Other Resources

Emergency? Know the top 10 non-food resources! To stay safe and alive, these are just as important as food. Here are the best non-food resources to have. Let's go!

  1. Water
  2. Shelter
  3. First Aid Kit
  4. Clothing
  5. Tools and Supplies
  6. Fire Starting Materials
  7. Light Sources
  8. Communication Devices
  9. Hygiene Supplies
  10. Protection from the Elements

Food Delivery Services

Food delivery services are a huge help during an emergency. You can get food at your door from your local supermarket or food pantry. They provide pre-made and packaged meals, non-perishables, frozen foods, veg, canned goods – and sometimes fresh food! Most let you pay with cash or EBT cards.

Popular food delivery services are FreshDirect, GrubHub and DoorDash. They offer one day delivery on essential goods during emergencies, and help with charitable donations during tough times. Grocery stores like Walmart and Target also offer home delivery.

Food banks can give you food if you need it in your community. Sometimes they have pick-up or box distributions for bigger needs. Churches and charities sometimes partner with orgs to give meal deliveries in emergencies, like after hurricanes. Research local resources before a crisis so you know what's available.

Local Farmers

Local farmers can be a great emergency food resource when SHTF. Shop at a local farm stand or food co-op for fresh food from nearby sources. You don't have to rely on unreliable supply chains. Humanely-raised meat and organic produce are often available. Fresh, nutritious food grown close to home is great in times of chaos. Supporting local farmers helps the local economy. Ask neighbors and community members about their favorite farms. Some CSAs trade resources or barter with other local providers.

Here are tips to get the most out of buying locally:

  • Shop in season – Buy what's in season at farmers markets or farm stands.
  • Ask questions – Get advice from experienced farmers on cooking or storing produce.
  • Build relationships – Speak directly with farmers to get the best deals.

Community Gardens

Community gardens are great! They offer fresh, organic food and sometimes meats. Members can grow their own food at a designated plot. Plus, many accept donations from other gardeners. Some communities even hold crop-swaps or trade days. This helps the environment, encourages socializing, and teaches gardening. It can also be useful in emergencies – when stores aren't accessible, you can rely on your own resources.

Join a local community garden if there is one near you! Or, if you have the space, why not start one?

Final Thoughts

Prepping for an emergency isn't simple. Large disasters require lots of planning, resources and knowledge to stay safe. There are many sources for emergency food. Being prepared and knowing your resources can help during an emergency.

When stocking an emergency kitchen, keep in mind expiration dates and cost. Canned goods are great, but check labels for storage advice. Don't get stuck with bad food! Consider what won't store well and needs to be replaced/rotated; like oats, peanut butter and granola bars – they're non-perishable and often affordable.

In addition to food, plan for hydration. Invest in potable water containers and purification tablets. Learn which plants are edible, so you can supplement stored food by foraging if needed. Just make sure you identify them correctly; eating the wrong plant could be dangerous!

Don't forget all other preparedness steps. Having food doesn't make up for first aid kits or lighters/matches. Get ready before a potential disaster!


Plan food sources in case of a crisis. Have the right resources to stay safe and fed.

  • Stock up on food for emergencies at home.
  • Know about local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and supermarkets that can help. These might accept donations too.

Knowledge of emergency food sources is very important. Take steps now to have access to food if a crisis arises. Stay prepared and safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the top 10 emergency food resources?

A1: The top 10 emergency food resources include: canned goods, dried beans and legumes, peanut butter, nuts, grains, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, powdered milk, canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).

Q2: How can I store emergency food?

A2: Emergency food can be stored in a cool, dry place, such as a basement, a garage, or a pantry. It is important to check expiration dates on food items and rotate them out periodically. Additionally, it is important to store foods in airtight containers to preserve freshness and prevent spoilage.

Q3: What are MREs?

A3: MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are pre-packaged, self-contained meals designed for emergency situations. They are typically shelf-stable for up to five years and are lightweight and easy to store. They are available in a variety of flavors and can provide a nutritious meal in times of crisis.

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