If you are like us, everything happened so fast that before I could even think of stocking up on food…shelves were empty, online shelves were empty, big box stores were empty.   It was an awful feeling and I wasted a good amount of time beating myself up for not having been an “Apocolypse Ready ”.  But I finally realized that HEY- none of us knew this kind of shut down could happen.

Well… now we DO.  No guilt, no blame. We have new knowledge and we can use it to help us Never Get to that Place Again.

The CDC puts out a great source called “Food & Water Needs: Preparing for a Disaster or Emergency”, you can check it out Here:


You might be worried that you to have an entire Years Supply of Organic Freeze Dried Food….but NO!  The TRUTH is 72 hours worth of Food can Make ALL the difference in the world if the worst, the semi worst, or even the  slightly bad happens.

So 3 days of Food….you can do that!

For our 72 hour Food Supply we will use the “Good, Better, Best” System.

Rule # 1:  Emergency Food Storage done Imperfectly still counts! 

  • Perfection, Elaborate Shelving and huge quantities are NOT necessary.

Rule # 2:  Fruit Loops, Eggos and Organically grown Quinoa all meet the goal of “Feeding your Family” …Good, Better, Best.

  •  Meet as many nutritional needs as you can, and buy a good Multi Vitamin for the rest.  We are getting through the Emergency.

Rule # 3:  Start with what you have and can afford, add the rest slowly. 

  • Now that retails are opening and the food supply chains are better, for now, use the money you saved on gas and haircuts and slowly start building your stock pile.

Step One:  Inventory

  • You can download the Martha Stuart 70 Page Pantry Organization and Inventory kit – or open the cupboard and take a cell phone pic.  Both are acceptable.

Step Two:  What are MY family’s staples? 

These are absolutely up to your individual needs, dietary requirements and budget.  Do you eat cereal for dinner and vegetarian chilli for breakfast- GREAT!  Write it down.   Make a 3 day list- you can even just write down what your family ate for the last 3 days.


Step Three:  Hunt and Gather

Remember when you could go to a grocery store and get everything on your list?   Me neither…The truth is you have a limited supply of money and perhaps still a limited supply of goods.  We now have restrictions on how many items we can purchase.  Start grabbing things on your list when you see them.

You can even buy a pre-made Emergency Food Kit like this one here: https://preparednessmama.com/72-hour-emergency-food-kit/ But if powdered “Whey Milk Substitute” is not your thing- it may best be for the Zombie Apocalypse stock pile.

Here’s what our Family of Five’s 72 Hour Emergency Food Pantry Inventory:

  • Crackers/cereal.
  • Trail mix/dried fruit.
  • Granola bars.
  • Protein Bars
  • Canned beans, meat, tuna, Chef Boyarde
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly, Frozen Bread
  • Instant Breakfast Mixes
  • Boxed Almond Milk- Shelf Stable
  • Chocolate- in various forms….

A few hints from the CDC:

Keep foods that:

  • Have a long storage life
  • Require little or no cooking, water, or refrigeration, in case utilities are disrupted
  • Meet the needs of babies or other family members who are on special diets
  • Meet pets’ needs
  • Are not very salty or spicy, as these foods increase the need for drinking water, which may be in short supply…(Ha! You know we all survived off of Spicy Hot Cheetos…let’s be real…)

You may find an unlimited supply of Pinto Beans or Chedder flavored Spam…if your family will not eat it…don’t put it in your 72 Day supply!!!  Maybe pick up a few in case of Zombie Apocalypse- but that’s another list.  Buy food you will eat.

Storage:  Keep this Supply Separate from your normal food- Don’t Cheat!

  • This is something we learned- we will need this at some point and the reward will be less panic and less stress.
  • It can be a plastic storage bin, a shelf in the Garage or a Giant Duffel bag

Finally- Water Water Water

  • You need 1 Gallon/Per Person/Per Day
  • Our family of 5 means 15 gallons of Emergency Water
  • We bought 5- 3 Gallon Jugs at Walmart…..DONE.

That’s it!  You can do this!  Once we have these very Basics Covered we can take the Next Doable Step- Non Food/First Aid Supplies that you will actually Use!

Here are some great Checklists and resources from the CDC and other great Sources:







Molly Freibott is the Co Founder of GYCC. She has a passion for organizing, managing programs supporting the Community and Faith Based Programs, especially those for under supported populations.