How To Deal With Neighbors And Friends That Come Begging For Food At Your Door In A Crisis

This article was originally published by James Walton on

The late afternoon light is shining through your window and the scene outside is quiet, just the way you like it. You are about a month into a serious collapse and thus far your preps have held up. Power has been out for 2 weeks; you don’t plan on ever having power again. You prepared for that.

As the sun sinks closer to the horizon you hear one of the most terrifying sounds of all: A knock on the door!

Your family finds their places and weapons, you leave from the backdoor and flank whoever might be on your porch. To your surprise it is your cousin! You haven’t seen him in years, but he is here. He looks rough and he has his disheveled family of three along with him.  He also doesn’t seem to have any food or supplies with him.

This is one of the prepper scenarios we all have thought about. However, it might not be as bad as you think!

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People Are Power

So, what do you do when someone unexpected comes knocking? Now, that is an interesting word to use in conjunction with preppers. UNEXPECTED. The whole point of prepping is to consider the unexpected.

In a true SHTF situation people bring you power. Your community should be like a hive. Hardly worth the trouble of any small group that might wish to steal or worse. You must be able to sustain them or have them sustain themselves but there will be tremendous power in numbers. Big jobs become easier, you can make an area more secure with more people, and you have more brains to put towards a problem.

Of course, its not heaven. With people come people issues like fights, jealousy, and the like. However, good leadership and preparedness can give you the upper hand on things like that.

You must first make an honest list of “survival dependents” or people who will come to depend on you when everything goes to hell!

Trust me, your list is bigger than you think.

Survival Dependents

While it is nice to imagine that the calamity will never cross your threshold, the reality is that many more people depend on you than you think. Chances are, even if people don’t know you’re a prepper, you are the type of person who has it together. You are likely the person people go to for answers.

No matter how strong your OPSEC protocols are if you are a good and solid person, than people will look to you in times of crisis. These might be people you love or just people you know.

Now is the time to sit down and create a real list. You must take off the blinders and truly consider all the people who will depend on you in an SHTF situation. It would be perfect if your list consisted of 4 people but when you break it down you have groups of people to consider.

  • Immediate Family
  • Extended Family
  • Friends
  • Co Workers

Your group of survival dependents could include people from each of these categories. How they depend on you may vary but this list will help you understand that there are more 

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Can You Support People?

Of course, the question that comes to mind after you create a list like this is: Do I have enough?

For most people, the answer is no. It can be over burdensome to assume that you can prep for all the people who might be on your list of survival dependents. When these people show up asking for food, though, you need to have something!

Unless you subscribe to the idea that you are going to turn everyone away who comes to your door. If that is your game plan than you better also prepare for some serious backlash. How many fathers with kids can you turn away before one of them says, “No, we are coming in.”

What happens next cannot be good, with lots of harmful outcomes.

This doesn’t mean you should be a pushover and let any old person into your home and feed them.

Tip: When people approach you to ask for something, if they come to your door or see you outside, simply ask them for something first! Open the door and ask for food and medicine: “Oh, I hope you brought some food, we haven’t eaten in a week!”

Put Them to Work Immediately

From that list of survival dependents, you will likely choose people who you will bring into the fold. However, don’t let them in free of charge. The best way to handle someone who comes asking for help is to immediately give them some form of work to be done.

This is also a great gauge of the depth of that person. Those who are outraged by the work that needs to be done at “their new home” are people that you can easily weed out. Just make it truly clear up front that there is plenty to do and if they cannot do what is asked, they cannot stay.

By the way, there will be plenty to do! If you manage a household of four and all the sudden it jumps to ten you will have lots of extra work. It is not so much about room but about dishes, laundry, food production, security detail in the neighborhood, general cleaning.

In an off-grid situation, it might be about things like water procurement and sanitizing, renewable energy system maintenance, gardening, canning and everything in between.

There will be a serious list of chores to be done and the last thing you want is a house full of freeloaders laying around all day while you are red in the face.

Using a basic Excel spreadsheet, you will be able to create chore lists TODAY for issues that might come tomorrow. Print a stack of them and save them. They can be filled out by hand when the time comes or if you know the system you could print them with the duties listed.

It’s high time we stop looking at neighbors and friends as threats in the downfall. Many people can see something resembling collapse just on the horizon. Its hard not to look around and wonder how the unprepared will react to a future of scarcity, uncertainty, with up close and personal violence.

If America is facing balkanization or civil war it will be particularly important that you have a secure neighborhood with plenty of able-bodied individuals. Many neighbors will leave for a safer environment and you must be aware of that. However, that might free up homes and living areas for more of your survival dependents.

Your survival dependents are not the burden you once thought. Believe me. While you know the flaws of the people around you, they have two ears, two eyes and a heart that wants to survive. If you can find it in you to lead these people they will provide you with a true survival group that will keep you and yours from being acted upon by anyone with a group larger and better trained than you and your spouse!

7 Replies to “How To Deal With Neighbors And Friends That Come Begging For Food At Your Door In A Crisis

  1. I have enough family who live locally and doubt about wshtf days. I know we will be bringing them in a long the ways, and only have 2 neighbors I would bother with. One has enough vehicles we could have enough fuel to run his and our generators for about a year. He has plenty of large machinery to block our road and driveways off. The other is a man of God and how to politely tell him it t is his family only we can take in. We can make sleeping areas available as we have our buildings that are enclosed as well. I will just have to sort through things. Decide what to store in the RV garages compared to what needs to stay under heat. We have a 3 bed 2 ba house. 1,500 g septic just pumped last week. Double car garage, full of a lot of useless stuff and also family stuff. A 30 x 20 storage room also has a lot of stuff that needs to be cleaned out. We have 2 freezers and 2 fridges. Surrounding us we have 1 daughter, her daughter and her husband and 2 young boys. My son and his 2 boys, my friend and her 2 young kids, then me and mine. So who do I say no to as they all know what we have as they’ve either been staying here when we started putting it in, have put some of their finances in to help when they were here, but that’s pretty much gone. I pointed out that feeding up to 13 at any point in time drowns the groceries up real fast. So what do I do next

  2. The problem is, I’ve tried to get a lot of people to start preparing. Just basics, stuff we all must have to attempt to survive catastrophe. Food, water, tools, and so on. But 90% look at me like I have 2 heads. It will be super tough to help those who refuse to help themselves. Family included.

  3. I’m going to assume the author has never been in a real shtf, and further to that, it appears the author is mixing a true shtf with natural disaster or a crisis.

    Not a well supported article by any measure.

  4. Is someone shows up with no prep ad seems surprise at how things happened then that really tells you everything you need to know about them. Cant think ahead. Lazy mentally and probably otherwise. Not smart. Doesn’t see important details. Not resourceful. Basically a liability. If I knew they had medical training or military ability or mechanical skills then maybe. If I have to bug out and show up at a friends I’m showing up with lots of food and ammo and some growing skills to buy in and help.

  5. I cannot support my entire neighborhood with food and supplies, but I will give till it hurts. Some neighbors who have avoided me, will not be welcome at any costs.

    1. The author completely missed the tipping point. But that is to be expected when the article is completely conjecture and not based on real world events.

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