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Making an Emergency Food Bucket

Creating a Bucket for a Family of 4

Food buckets are easy to store and share. These buckets will be the basics and will not include the canned goods in the 30-day storage bins. This is also an inexpensive way to create food packages for groups of people. A bucket is used, but for short-term distribution boxes or sacks could also be used to reduce the additional costs of the buckets.

For longer-term storage buckets that can be purchased at a hardware store for around $5. In addition for longer storage oxygen absorbers and Mylar bags or vacuum storage bags are recommended. This will allow the food to be stored for up to 30 years. For a set of 10 Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, it will be around $30. The oxygen absorbers by themselves are 500 for $17 and instead, a trash bag or other bag could be used. The vacuum and Mylar bags reduce the space and allow for more room for additional items to be added, but this is optional.

This is a very basic bucket, it is a good starting place and since the other items are eliminated, the basics are increased.

The contents will come to $114. This cost of course changes and you may need to do some shopping around for the best prices.

  • 50 pounds of white rice (white rice has a shelf life of 30 years whereas brown rice has one of 1 year) costs $50

  • 10 pounds of assorted beans (Navy are higher in nutrients) cost $22

  • 5 pounds of lentils cost $22

  • Boxes of orange drink mix or other drink mixes with vitamin c. $5

  • Box of iodized salt $4

  • Pool Shock $7 for .454kg. Liquid bleach can also be used, but cannot be stored in the bucket and only lasts 6 months. This can be mixed with liquid bleach to create a cleaner and can be used separately for water purification.

  • Multivitamins $8

How to Assemble a Bucket

Gather all of the supplies together. If you are using the Mylar or vacuum sealing- remove the pool shock. It does help if the bucket lid has a seal on the inside and is food-grade. If you remove the packaging it will help save space and will allow you to seal it for longer storage.

Place a bag in the bucket and extend over the sides and fill it with the rice about ¾ of the way. Then you can toss the bags of beans on top. You can either re-bag the beans or leave them in the original bags. Then lay the drink and vitamins on top.

If you are not going to be using all of the oxygen absorbers, have a large jar and fill part of the way with rice and place the extra absorbents in the jar and seal tightly for later use.

Now you can vacuum seal with a sealer or if you use Mylar bags to begin the process. For the Mylar bag there is a crimping tool or a hair straightener iron will also work. Another method is to place a metal level on top of the bucket, lay the top of the bag over it, and then use a clothes iron to heat and seal the bag. After a day or two the Mylar will suck down and form a seal.

Now place the pool shock in a zipper-sealed bag and do the same in a separate bag with the salt. Then place both on top of the sealed bag. You can crush the salt and move things around to make sure they all fit in the bucket, if it is loose you can add extra trash bags or baggies that will come in handy in the future. Now it is time to close the lid. You might need a rubber hammer to help force the lid in place. It is also good to write the contents on the side of the bucket and the date for future reference.

Planning for a Year

In previous discussions, we mentioned that you can save a few extra items each time you shop and they add up. By purchasing a little extra whenever you can, it is actually easy to reach these levels. Start with the buckets, but as you plan ahead here is a table of what is recommended for one year of food storage.

Don’t forget to add water purification and pet or baby food as needed

Food Storage
Download PDF • 262KB

It can seem overwhelming, but saving a little at a time adds up and allows you to spread the cost of the items over a longer period of time.

The idea is that you can easily start with small buckets and then move up to larger stores of food. Even a little can help in times of need.

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