When a hurricane strikes, many people are left wondering where they will live, when their next meal will be, and how long they will have to survive on the basics. Feeding yourself and your family is a very important thing to do during a hurricane or other storms. Keeping everyone fed throughout the storm will help their physical body and it will also support their mental well-being. Without a sustainable food plan, you and your family members may find it hard to live together for days at a time during a hurricane. For those who may not be able to leave the area because of work or because of lack of a safe place to stay in another region, here are some tips for items to check and stock up on to make it through storm.
Before Hurricane Season:
- Look at the food you already have in your pantry and check the expiration dates. Stock your pantry based on items you don’t already have. A few staples to keep on hand are rice, pasta, canned vegetables, canned beans, canned tuna or other meat. These canned items only need a manual can opener to open.
- Buy enough food and water for 3 days per person. For water, buy 1 gallon of water per day per person. If you have young children or older adults in the home, they may need extra water. If you have a baby, buy bottled water to mix with the formula.
- For babies, buy canned baby food that does not need to be cooked or have water added.
- For babies, purchase a reserve supply of diapers, wipes, spare pacifier and other essentials. Place these supplies in a plastic storage container as there is likely to be high demand for these items on the eve of a storm.
- Check out this article about how to keep food safe during an emergency: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/news-events/news-press-releases/whats-your-food-safety-plan-hurricane-season
- Consider saving a portion of your SNAP/ food stamp dollars each month during hurricane season to be prepared if you have to stock up your pantry all at once. Your SNAP benefits carry over from month to month for up to one year.
- If your geographic area is officially declared a disaster, a special type of SNAP benefits may be available. Learn about D-SNAP here [https://www.morefood.org/getting-the-food-you-need-during-a-natural-disaster/]
When a Hurricane is Moving In:
- Double check that your water and pantry items are stocked.
- When a hurricane warning has been issued, buy whole fruits and vegetables to eat alongside pantry foods. Some produce to consider buying: apples, bananas, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, and potatoes. Wash all produce before your power is expected to go out. Consider placing produce in plastic storage bags to keep it clean.
- Place pantry items that are in boxes (pasta, cereal, etc.) in an airtight waterproof container.
- Pre-cook rice and pasta.
- Clean all laundry, sheets, and dishes to have the maximum amount of clean clothing and utensils during the hurricane.
- Buy hand sanitizer to limit washing hands with water during the hurricane.
- Set refrigerator and freezer to the highest setting to keep food cold. Minimize opening the refrigerator once the power goes out, so that you can keep everything cold for as long as possible. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if kept closed. The freezer will stay at the same temperature for 48 hours (2 days) if full, or 24 hours (1 day) if half full.
- When in doubt of the food, throw it out! Do not risk eating food that doesn’t look normal or has a different smell. You do not want to risk someone getting sick during a time that emergency responders may take longer to get to you.
If you or someone in your household gets sick, dehydrated, or hurt during a hurricane, call 911! Always be sure to keep phones on the chargers until the power goes out. Do not use phones for anything except for necessary calls or texts during the power outage.
These are just a few tips to get you started. More ideas on how to gradually create a hurricane kit on a budget can be found here: [https://www.morefood.org/be-prepared-make-sure-you-have-an-emergency-supply-of-food-and-water/].
Information for this blog was collected from the following websites:
Pictures for this blog were collected from the following websites:
- Food Pantry Photo from https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/photo-gallery