Community Challenge: Bags for the Unprepared / Mercy Bags

Winter is quickly approaching and the news of the pandemic globally is becoming increasingly bleak. The US still hasn’t officially finished its first wave and elsewhere is showing staggering signs of an overwhelming, inbound second wave. 

Ultimately, the only way we’re going to get through this is by banding together as a community of preppers and as human beings helping other human beings in need.

Today, we put together a few basic-level BOBs using some of our own surplus stock and a few former packs) for anyone that might be in need. The packs cover the basics: water, food, fire, shelter, first aid, pandemic supplies (gloves, disposable masks, sanitizer, masks with filters), and batteries for the flashlights and headlamps.

We’re fortunate that we have the means to do this. Others in our community are not.

In all, each bag as 7-10 days worth of supplies.

And I wish we could do more.

We’d also like to challenge everyone who can do so, to take up this cause: build a bag to help someone you don’t know, who isn’t prepared to face the pandemic or a disaster.


  • Comments (8)

    • 2

      So awesome Matt. Can see the need even today, as my local commuity is evacuating due to wildfires and a lot of people are (of course) being caught off guard.

      • 3


        Other than feeling like that topic went over like a lead balloon, I thought I’d share anyway. Maybe I’m too optimistic?

      • 3

        I think most don’t think this pandemic is going to result in a collapse of society where folks will need BOBs.  I too prep for my neighbors but it will take something a whole lot worse than what we are experiencing for me to offer them help.  The majority of folks in this country have seen little, if any, impact from this virus.

      • 1

        Agreed, I don’t think the pandemic will result in collapse. Although, the stresses of unchecked spread on an already overtaxed medical system does have the potential to completely break it -AND the people (doctors, nurses, aides, and others medical-related roles) who keep those systems running.

        Besides, other things (ie., the election) are more likely to begin the churning process.

        As to your comment about “the majority of folks have seen little, if any impact from the virus”… well, where do I begin?

        I think that’s wholly dependent on where you’ve been over the course of the pandemic and whether or not someone you know has gotten sick or died; or if you’ve lost your job. I don’t think minimizing the experiences, suffering, or loss of others for the sake of the statement, “the majority of folks…” does the scale of the pandemic’s impact on our nation -and globally any justice.

        Despite your subjective opion, things are objectively changing. Spikes are emerging in rural areas and in the mid-West -the very same areas that saw ‘little or no impact’ initially, where many a community pushed to keep things open because the pandemic wasn’t a problem for their communities in the early months. I mean, that was a “city problem” back in January, wasn’t it?

        I think it’s easy to get comfortable and think, “We’re safe out here in the country” and assume it’ll never show on your own doorstep.

        And recent numbers bear that out.

        See for yourself.


        [edits for clarity]
    • 2

      Thank you for posting this community challenge Matt! I think it is a brilliant idea and I will accept this challenge! My funds are very minimal right now and I have many things that I need to do for my family first to make sure we are prepared, but I am going to think of some ways that I can help others.

      It is admirable to share of your resources with others and make these little kits to help others.

      I’ve been thinking about what my little gift bag might look like. What will the disaster most likely look like where I need to hand these out? (fire evac, corona, inability to buy supplies at the store, etc…) Where will people go after I hand out this kit? (they might not need a fire starting set if we live in downtown New York and they are just going next door to a FEMA shelter, but they might need hygiene supplies, and some extra snacks) There are many things to consider when making these bags.

      One idea I just had would be to have a “mercy bag shelf”. On it would be various supplies that can be gathered to create a mercy bag according to the situation. Have a bunch of ziplock bags with hygiene supplies, ziplock bag of flour, rice, beans, ziplock bag with flashlight and batteries, ziplock bag with fire starting set, etc… Then if someone comes needing help, you can judge their situation and just grab various ziplocks and put them in a bag and then hand the bag to them. A family of five might need more supplies than a single person and you can just grab extra bags off the shelf for that family mercy bag.

      I’m looking forward to the time when I can finish up all the preps for my family so that I can focus a larger amount of time and money on things like mercy bags and ways to help others.

    • 5

      We currently have wildfires raging in CO and, although the emergency services cannot accept physical donations for the evacuees (only cash) due to COVID, the firefighters will.

      Seeing what they need made me respect their role even more: on top of water, sports drinks, snacks, etc, they need iboprufen, individual eye drops, hand warmers (it’s already getting frosty), gold bond powder, socks. They are thirsty, hungry, in pain, and cold. Needless to say our wonderful community has already mobilised and have been putting together care packs. Here’s the list, if anyone’s interested.

    • 3

      When I bike on Sunday I keep two bags of food and water to share with anyone who appears in need.  It is super easy to do and those I meet who need the help are first shocked that someone cares and second very appreciative.

    • 3

      This is great! At the end of the day, we’re only as strong as the communities in which we live.  I’ve long bristled at the notion of prepers who go to lengths to hide their preps, it seems to dangerously overlook the vital need for community and teamwork.