Y2K a Blessing? You Bet!

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It’s hard to believe we are approaching the 14th  anniversary of Y2K, that some warned would bring about the end of the world as we knew it. 

From the start of computer programer’s warnings that the New Millennium, which would read 00, would glitch all computer software and hardware programs, nations quietly began to prepare by employing programers who were tasked with sorting out the mess. The job was made more difficult because fifty years of computer programing had gone by, and many of the original programers had passed on, leaving these new generation programers to figure out a solution on their own under extremely stressful conditions. 

The Blessing

For the first time since the Great Depression, the potential of a system-wide meltdown forced Americans to wake up long enough to understand exactly what had been happening over the past 60 years. The reality didn’t paint a pretty picture.  By the late 1990’s, while many were busy feasting on credit cards and buying McMansions they couldn’t afford, the truth of  nation’s critically flawed system highlighted an unhealthy dependance on technology that had already wound its way around every facet of people’s lives across the globe.

During Y2K, people in the U.S. pretty much fell into one of three groups: the naysayers, the interested, and those who would become the first wave of post-Cold War Preppers.

Group #1 Thought, “It’ll Never Happen…Now Shut Up and Leave Me Alone!”

There are no demographics on what percentage of people refused to listen to the problems surrounding Y2K, but it probably wasn’t much different than what Preppers experience today when the subject of CME’s (coronal mass ejections) or the approaching economic collapse comes up.  This first group just buried their heads in the sand.

It was assumed by most embroiled in the Y2K debate that when SHTF this first group would likely get together with like-minded folks to gripe about how long it was taking for help to arrive. The thought of gathering water probably wouldn’t have dawned on them until thirst overtook them, and it’s a sure bet their pantries wouldn’t have contained over three days worth of food.  When it became apparent that  meals on wheels was not going to knock on millions of doors each and every day to feed them, their lack of planning would become self-evident.

Group #2 Thought, “It Might Happen, But What Can I Do About It?”

This is the group that acknowledged Y2K might be a problem, but chose to walk away from the debate; most likely because they lacked the backbone to change their lifestyle in order to become prepared. And just as today, now 14 years later, these are the same people who may discuss the possibility of a climatic crisis, or the evidence of the coming economic collapse. Today, these same people would most definitely gripe about Obama Care that devastated their health care plan and their budget. Just don’t  expect them to actually do anything to improve their situation.  

Unfortunately, if members of this camp are part of your family group, it will fall to your shoulders to prepare–and that’s provided they don’t try to help themselves to the food storage and toilet paper you’ve managed to squirrel away without asking.  The best solution to a scenario like this is to store everything behind a door and then slap a heavy-duty padlock on it. This approach also requires the resolve to put your foot down, even when confronted with anger over your “hording”.

(David’s note:  When guests ask me about locked rooms, I just tell them, “That’s where we keep Ruprecht.”  People who know “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” laugh because they get a kick out of it.  Others laugh too, but it’s more of an uncomfortable laugh 😉

Should an extended family member, a friend, or co-worker happen to fall within this group, you can count on them to show up on your doorstep at the first sign of trouble. After all, you’re their go-to person!

Group #3 thinks, “If the Government Is Worried Enough For Y2K Committees & Re-Programing Code, It’s Time To Prepare!”

This final group listened to the warnings, educated themselves on the problems that existed, and burned the midnight oil to educate themselves on every aspect of preparedness.  The learning curve was brutal, but so were the potential consequences of being unprepared.

In my opinion, this is where many Preppers got their start, and now have over a decade of hands-on experience.  In a lot of cases, newbie preppers are turning to the Y2K preppers who figured things out before them for advice and encouragement. 

Most of these Preppers tend to keep a low profile, but when asked, they are likely to say  that once they learned the ins and outs of preparedness, and the began storing essentials, they never looked back.

(David’s note:  I’m continually amazed with the number of people I talk with who are in their 50s and older who prepared for Y2K, felt a little foolish when nothing happened, and who have started brushing everything off in recent years.  They’re thankful now for the running start they have today.  This continually validates my philosophy of using events to spur action and bursts of forward progress, but to have a preparedness plan based on solid fundamentals and not on specific events.)

* *   *

Facing the possibility of life without electricity, communications, banks, grocers, water, sewer, heat, fuel, and emergency services, most of the people who had determined to prepare for Y2K discovered they didn’t have any idea where to begin.  Generations separated us from our forefather’s wisdom of how to  survive without modern conveniences. 

The very thing that threatened our survival, our reliance on computers, was where people turned for information, and a whole new cottage industry was born; preparedness and survival goods and informational sites.

On ancient Y2K preparedness and survival forums, we learned about Heirloom garden seed, how to garden, and how to home can or dehydrate the garden’s overflow. Root Cellars came back into vogue, and information on do-it-yourself greenhouses and chicken coops was sought by many. Information on how to preserve cheese and eggs, long-term, and the use of sourdough starter were other hot topics. So were our forefathers’ alternative methods for heating, cooking, and lighting. This is where many learned about bartering and there was page after page of suggestions we could turn to.  The Internet was where we got information from those in the medical field who suggested training courses to get up to speed, and communications experts who tutored the newbies on 2-way and Ham radio.   

Safety was a huge concern for everyone, and it was on survival and preparedness sites and forums where we sought the advice of those with military and police experience and where we discussed hunting and trapping with avid hunters and trappers.

The truth, if the warnings were correct, was that civilization as we knew it was about to be turned upside down and those living in the poorest nations were the most likely to survive because their lives didn’t revolve around luxuries like computers, electricity, automobiles and grocery stores.  Most living in third-world countries were intimately familiar with bartering for necessities and gardening for sustenance. Suddenly, those of us living in luxury in developed nations were the ones at a disadvantage. 

The thing is…all of the problems that existed back 14 years ago still exist today, even though over a decade to repair the problem has come and passed. If anything, the risks and potential fallout has only grown worse.  But the one important difference between then and now is that a Pandora’s Box of sorts has been opened, and because of it, over 3 million people have chosen to become self-sufficient. And just as important, many Americans are now dedicating their time to act as watchdogs and monitor what our officials are up to, so the omissions of mainstream media aren’t quite as effective as they once were!

If you still doubt the value of the Y2K shake-up with regards to preparedness, have a look at the main topics of the time that most were clueless about…

  • Until Y2K, few people knew or were concerned that the U.S. Dollar was backed only by blind trust in the system. All the gold in Fort Knox (if it was still stored there) would not be saving us.
  • The average person didn’t have a clue that the Federal Reserve was not “Federal”. It wasn’t until Y2K when the soft underbelly of our monetary system was exposed to the masses.  

  • Suddenly, we were made aware that our banking system was completely dependent upon computers to pull up customer data; no record of deposits equals no money in our pockets.

  • People learned that only a small fraction of depositors money is actually kept on hand at banks while the lions share was funneled into loans… the public had been lied to when we were told we had access to our money whenever we needed it. Today, the problem has only grown worse. Recently, Chase sent out notifications to their customers that stated as of November 17, 2013, withdrawals would be limited to $50,000 each month, and that outgoing International Money Transfers  would no longer be allowed, making it crystal clear who was in control of the money deposited in their bank.

  • For the first time, we learned not to depend on ATM’s should the grid go down. People started socking away cash at home and some began investing in Gold and silver. 

  • Access to safety deposit boxes, we discovered,  were likewise at risk should a bank holiday be called or the grid crashed. Many during Y2K found alternative safe locations to store their valuables.

  • Before Y2K, most people took the electricity that ran to their homes for granted…until they came to understand its delivery was dependent upon computer programing. The situation has only grown worse since 1999.

  • One of the biggest threats to long-term survival on a global scale was brought to light during Y2K, and that was the threat the 425 nuclear power plants posed to mankind should the grid go down across the continents.

  • During Y2K, people were warned not to expect their toilets to flush, or their garbage to be picked up. As far as sanitation went, we were on our own and people got busy with work-arounds.

  • Back in the late 1990’s, the problem of fuel availability and transportation was foremost on many people’s mind, just as it is today.

  • The approach of Y2k was the first time most people became aware that grocery stores no longer stored back stock, and suddenly, we learned of how fragile our food chain really was.  Gardening and food storage became one of the most talked-about subjects.

  • Water, something we can’t live without, could no longer be taken for granted. The power it took to feed it to our homes looked to be less than a sure thing, and many scrambled to find a reliable source, sought information on how to purify it, and found creative ways on storing it.

  • Everyday tasks like heating the home, cooking, and lighting required alternative methods that forced most people to turn to the few who had experience with living without electricity. Suddenly, many forums were flooded with questions about generators and fuel storage.

  • Safety was a subject of great debate at the time because many couldn’t wrap their minds around a time when looting and worse became a reality that needed to be planned ahead for.  Eventually, most Preppers educated themselves on tactical weaponry.

  • Communication was yet another modern convenience we were told would disappear on the year 2000 and people’s interest in 2-way and Ham radio skyrocketed.

  • Just as today, Preppers struggled with loved ones who disagreed over the need to prepare, and many turned to forums to seek advice from others; many who were struggling with the same issues. 

It is unfortunate that Y2K hasn’t been given the billing it deserves, for the “Millennium Bug” is where many of us first learned how fragile the fabric of every day survival really is; like dominoes, first one thing we took for granted could be toppled, then the next, and the next.

Did you become a Prepper because of Y2K, and if so, how did it change your lifestyle?  How about today…anyone who you’re close to who denies anything is wrong or who refuses to take action?    Please share by commenting below!

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Chapter 33, part 2 of 3 has been posted. You can Click Here to continue reading.

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva


  1. I come from multi generational preppers, I suspect as far back as Noah. By my teens I was helping with the home canning. I didn’t know it was work, it was just another fun thing we got to do once a year.

    Illness put me out of work once for several months in my late twenties. Having the home paid for and extra food in the cupboard made the difference. This was when I learned why I kept extra supplies, before that it was just a habit picked up from my parents.

    Y2K, the end of the Mayan Calendar, and a few others were excuses to add to my preps and assess my situation. These were chances to test myself. I never felt foolish when I arrived at my destination and unbuckled my seatbelt without having been in a wreck. I’ll not waste my time feeling foolish about doing what is right, I do plenty of wrong things to feel foolish about.

  2. Except for storing some extra water it didn’t change what we did.
    The only problem with the power grid in y2k would of been if some computer thinking it was 1900 instead of 2000 made it desynchronize the generators or crash the OS. I think the real problem was that it would mess up the billing programs.

  3. I was taken aback when I received a recent letter from my mid sized bank advising that Bank Cards would be downgraded from $6000 to $3500 (or maximum in acct, whichever is lower) for withdrawals. Still not a major concern with me BUT when you can no longer CASH your entire paycheck, you will know the end is near.

  4. Reading ONE SECOND AFTER several years ago was really an eye-opener. This country has many enemies with nuclear capabilities around the world and an EMP strike is a real possibility and it would really devastate this country. Many folks, me included, are amazed that it hasn’t already happened. That book brings to light many facets of what would happen that many of us had not thought about. Martial law, confiscation of individual items, not to mention the looting and battles among the people that would be bound to happen.

  5. I was a field service network/computer/software tech in the ’90s and was running around ragged updating 1000’s of business computers with BIOS updates, software migrations, code changes, etc. that were deemed Y2K compliant by OEMs….

    In my spare time I was too interested in chasing women and partying like it was 1999 to do any preparation…lol

    I did however purchase a very popular and controversial “cookbook” though…those of you in the “know” know exactly which book I’m referring too…:-)

    However, with a background in hardware, software and network architecture I just could not believe that missing lines of code that allowed computers to work on a 2 digit year would be TEOTWAWKI….

    Ironically, even though I choose computer technology as a career I’ve always had a gnawing feeling that when all computer, communication and data information systems are finally all connected together that will usher in TEOTWAWKI……

  6. GrouchyJohn says:

    I was one of the “young” guys that got handed the job of fixing things when Y2K came rolling around. After looking around I decided there was a serious problem but not one that was likely to be as damning as many thought. I did my bit to insure things got fixed, applied patches, rewrote a bunch of code, ran backups. Then I looked at home. Living on a mountain where things have been known to get a little crazy in winter, I decided that while I wasn’t a Prepper (in those days I’d never heard the word) I did need to be sure my kids were taken care of. So I made my way to some of the big box stores and bought more than the normal groceries, I bought a 3rd 100 pound propane tank to use with my gas fireplace. Grabbed an extra rifle and got a few hundred rounds of ammo. Just in case. Then nothing happened. Yeah!

    I let things slide for a while, the propane tanks got used if the power went out and occasionally refilled. I went plunking occasionally. The extra groceries got eaten up slowly when we got to lazy to go to the store. Then the world started to become less of a civilized place and my “pucker factor” started increasing. I took some tactical shooting classes and found that I liked shooting.

    My wife thought I was crazy back in the Y2K days, she still thinks I’m nuts. She’s one of those that say “this is America, it can’t happen here”. This house is packed full of stuff that she doesn’t even know about. There’s stuff buried in the back yard. Even certain interior walls have been torn apart to store things between the wall studs. I have everything written down, she and my kids know where the list is. She still thinks I’m crazy. I’ve tried to explain things to her, she won’t listen. I hope to God she’s right, but……

    The propane tanks have been declared out of service due to age, but I replaced them with bigger ones and added in solar panels and battery banks. The more than normal groceries have become such that I’m storing now in oxygen depleted 30 gallon drums… large enough to hold bulk items, but small enough I can pick them up and stack them and they can be used for water when emptied. “A few hundred rounds of ammo and an extra rifle” now requires 2 goodly sized gun safes, one for weapons, one for ammo…both needed to keep grandkids out. I’ve used a lot of “pointers” from this website to add in other stuff I’m not gonna talk about.

    Anyone that isn’t prepping deserves what will happen, but their spouses and kids don’t. Even if you are like my wife and think it can’t happen in America, you should think what it will mean to your family if you happen to be wrong. It doesn’t even have to be TEOTWAWKI. Let them tell you that you are crazy, its better to be safe than sorry.

  7. Jeeze, the millenium did not begin on 01 Jan ’00. It ended on 31 Dec ’00. There was NO ZERO YEAR between BC and AD, you begin counting with one, not zero. Therefore the first century was counted from 1 AD to 100 AD, and the first millenium was counted through the year 1000. The current century and millenium started on 01 Jan 2001 and will end at the years 2100 (twentyfirst century) and 3001 (the third millenium AD). This is simple math, not calculus You, David and Survival Diva, should know better.

    • Survival Diva says:


      Thank you for your edification…now, perhaps you might have an opinion to offer regarding Prepping and Y2k, or does your interest begin and end with 31 Dec ’00? And so we are clear, I wrote the article, so make sure to do your mudslinging in my direction… : )

  8. I did some prepping for Y2K that would have been utterly inadequate if a full-blown collapse had occurred.

    I was always a fan of post-apocalyptic literature (The Day After, Alas Babylon, etc) but my genesis moment was reading “One Second After”. I put it down, looked around, and thought “even if I survive, I’ll never forgive myself if I didn’t take steps to protect my family when I could do it so easily.” I now have several months of food, multiple water filtration and purification systems, a Faraday cage with important gadgets like UV purifiers inside, lots of manuals and guides printed out, and a fair amount of ammo.

    One interesting source for survival gadgets I’ve found is indigogo – I’ve picked up several cool solar gadgets designed for the third world (so very simple and rugged), a very cool thing called a Flamestower that produces an electrical charge by boiling water over a campfire, and a high tech electronic purifier. There are always new things coming up all the time.

    Stay safe,


  9. I am 65 now but in my early teens I asked my Mum why she always kept an old sideboard full of tinned food. She smiled at me as only someone who has experienced hunger and hardship could and said “Just in case son, just in case”. And I remembered standing in the grocers as our ration cards were stamped in the 50’s.

  10. Carl from Coastal MS says:

    I was one of the guys that wrote the original code and was still employed in the computer industry for Y2K, so was also deeply involved in repairing or replacing systems that were vulnerable (interestingly, older telephone switches and analog power stations were the most vulnerable). The issues were real. Many billions of dollars were spent by governments, industry and individuals, years in advance of the trigger date, to ensure that only minor, overlooked glitches occurred as midnight struck around the world. My favorite saying at the time (after the fact, of course) was if the world had spent the same time and money on cancer and AIDS research we would already have the cure and the preventative inoculations…

    I did do some prepping prior to the event, such as food, water, and fuel storage, but working as close to the problem as I had been for years in advance of Y2K, I was “fairly comfortable” that we would not have a crisis, or if so, it would be of short duration…no more than 24-48 hours, and prepared accordingly. We didn’t get lucky, we got prepared!

    Y2K was an event that had plenty of prior warning, like the potential arrival of a hurricane, only with years of potential prep time instead of days or in some cases, weeks. Since I live on the northern Gulf Coast, we have been prepping to some degree for years…for us, Y2K was just another red flag warning…

  11. Actually the Y2K potential for disaster was fairly high and had folks not been working on it months in advance it could have lead some major problems. I personally worked on internal programs for several months and we would have been down had we not corrected many problems in our programs. In addition to correcting our internal programs we checked with every possible source for possible glitches and one that we found was that we needed a patch for our Novel networking system. We did it and also notified friends and others that we knew were using Novel about the free patch. Unfortunately one business associate didn’t think the patch was necessary and when they tried to access their computers everything crashed. Their headquarters and ten or so branch offices all went caput. It’s a shame but they have never fully recovered from the damage done and I don’t expect their business to survive much longer as it has already been cut more than half. Fortunately they were not in a critical business like power grid, hospital, public safety, etc.

    Frankly, I did not prep for disaster to be caused by Y2K. I did prep for computer glitches and even failure because of the date change issues. We closed early on New Years Eve and our party time was spent doing backups and finally powering down and even unplugging everything electric in our business. We came in on January 1st and got all our systems back up and running and ran a number of test to make sure everything was OK even to the point of changing the dates in the system and testing for January 2 and later for 2001.
    I didn’t do any disaster prepping because I really expected professionals to go to the lengths that we had to make sure things were going to work.

    Disaster prepping for me started in earnest when I realized that our nation is in dire financial and political shape. It’s not a matter of if only of when the pot will boil over. Communism/Marxism/socialism are the enemy and the enemy is winning right now.

  12. I am a child of the Cold War and have been prepping since the mid ’70s. I’ve gotten much more into it in the past several years with all the good info available online showing me that there’s more to it than just stockpiling food. Thankfully my son and family and his in laws are all preppers as well. We live 1000 miles apart, so it’s a source of peace to me to know they’ll be ok.

  13. My wife thought I was crazy for prepping for Y2K, and she was proven ‘right’ because
    absolutely nothing happened. During a move in 2003 she tried to give away all our
    long term storage food. She uses my prepper supplies as a convenience store when
    she runs out of items and never alerts me to replace the items. I continue to prepare
    and she continues to think I’m wasting money, but she will be the first to complain that
    I didn’t do enough IF/WHEN the SHTF. We recently had a crisis due to the flooding that
    occurred this summer here in Colorado. The lines at the grocery stores were 45 minutes
    long, filled with people panicking and stocking up on everything. She seemed to understand
    my prepping for a brief moment, but is now back in her old ways, depending on the JIT
    grocery delivery system…..

    • Survival Diva says:

      Love that your wife uses the prep goods as a convenience store…but it would be good for her to jot down what’s been used. My food storage is called “the grocery store” by family members who come for a visit. We grab what we need and it’s replaced later–saves a ton of time and gas : )

  14. I was in Boy Scouting from age 7 thru age 16 (1949-1958) and preparedness was the cornerstone of our training along with Moral and Ethical development.
    In the mid 60’s after my military service (Draft) I was introduced to the County Militia concept while living in the Tribal Lands of eastern Oklahoma. I have “prepared” ever since.
    Being a burden on your neighbors; rather than a help, is a moral issue as well as an ethical one. The child hood story of “The Grasshopper and the Ant” is instructional in this concept.
    Yours in Liberty,
    Oath Keeper

  15. I was one of the concerned preppers. I found several chat rooms where the actual programmers talked to each other about the technicalities of what was potentially going to happen and they were VERY concerned and seeking answers to fix the code. Sounds like from several of the comments so far NO ONE wants to admit they were actually worried about Y2K. Whatever……the massive amounts of money and effort FIXED the problem and Thank God for that. I do not believe anyone really wants to go thru a SHTF event but we should all be prepared to not be part of the problem.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Governments across the globe were concerned enough to spend massive amounts of money and resources to fix the problem of Y2K. Officials who were honest admitted they weren’t sure if there would be a problem or not. Even today, some believe issues with the date code were averted by re-writing code, and others feel it was never a problem to begin with. There WERE glitches at the stroke of midnight, but they were small ones for the most part.

      I’ve met many who began to prepare during Y2K. In every case, their lifestyles changed significantly and they are Preppers to this day.

    • i know that many people were worried about y2k. i just wasn’t one of them. my family and i even had a camera set up to take a picture of us next to a computer monitor one second after the “event” to see if we were still alive. the levels of paranoia were amazing to me and a lesson to how a little bad information can indeed stampede everyday folks into needless worry.

      that being said, legacy systems left over from the 60′ and 70’s using cobol did indeed have some things that needed to be touched up. but most of the major banking systems in place at the time did not use such ancient code.

      i could even make a case that y2k went the opposite direction and gave us preppers a bad name. well intentioned folks recommending stocking up on food and filling their bath tubs with water just ended up looking like nuts when nothing happened. now when those same people tell family and friends they better darn well worry about the collapse of our financial system or electrical grid or any number of other very real concerns, they end up sounding like the boy who cried wolf.

      i can’t remember how many people came to me to ask how much food they needed to buy before y2k hit. knowing my background in computers and job they would also ask how bad i thought it was going to be. these were otherwise sane and rational people! even though i told em my opinion that, yes, they SHOULD be prepared in general, but not necessarily for anything that was going to happen at midnight december 31, 1999 (and by the way, was that midnight eastern u.s. or london or tokyo time? ), i still got looks like “gees, this guy hasn’t heard the news the world is going to end as we know it.”

      like stephen said, best that we adhere to the boy scout motto all the time.

      when the crowd says to worry, don’t. and when the crowd says stock up on food, sell. 🙂

  16. digidoc664 says:

    Great slant to “learning from the past”, who is likely to benefit from it and some insight into what to do differently today. I appreciate the subtle humor found throughout the article.

  17. there’s at least one other group – people who weren’t stampeded into believing any of the pre-y2k nonsense and hype, BUT still used it as a personal genesis to start or augment preparedness. the whole myth about computers suddenly thinking it was 1900 rather than 2000 was laughable. banking systems crashing, people unable to get money and food and panicking – all that stuff was just plain stupid from the get-go. i’m a programmer and the systems i looked at and designed had NONE of the supposed weaknesses government “experts” were warning about. computer code is constantly evolving as are the programing languages and tools programmers use. to think that the programming tools designed in the late 80’s and into the 90’s didn’t take into account the date question is just idiotic. the main takeaway from y2k for my family and friends was do NOT follow the crowd. they’ll stampede right over a cliff if the tv or newspaper tells em to.

    • Survival Diva says:


      Many didn’t prepare because of the “00” issue, but rather because of the information that was revealed during Y2K. Learning for the first time that grocers no longer carried back stock, or that the money deposited in the bank wouldn’t be available if there was a bank run, or that just about everything we took for granted was dependent upon the electrical grid was what drove people to begin making changes. Yes, the information was all available before the approach of Y2K, but most people hadn’t looked.

      • and you could make that same argument today. most people out there still haven’t awakened to understanding that the electrons flowing into their home are delivered via a complex and often fragile system. or that they might not be able to get money out of the atm to buy groceries at walmart on demand.

        y2k was never going to be anything big precisely because disasters don’t occur at a specific tick of the clock. it was always much ado about nothing.

        however, if the generated hype started ANYONE down the road to being more prepared, it was probably worth it. 🙂

  18. The Y2K “event” did not worry me much since working in the embedded computer and automotive engineering I knew that vehicle computers and most embedded systems did not care about the date. How many cars do you know of that require you to set the date for anything except the clock? I have been involved with “prepping” since I was a Boy Scout and was taught to “Be Prepared”

  19. I prepared for Y2K, because I was “nesting” with my second child due in early February 2000.

    Thankfully, the computer crisis was averted. However, my “crisis” was unexpected bed rest with my pregnancy. My crisis turned out to be entertaining a preschooler from the couch for five weeks. It was WONDERFUL to have extra groceries in the house, so my husband only had to get milk, bread, eggs. Limited spending while I was not getting a paycheck.

    Due to planning, it was inconvenient, but not a crisis.

    • Survival Diva says:


      Your experience is a great example of why we should be prepared. Having that food storage available while you were on bed rest helped your family financially and cut down on the hassle of frequent trips to the store.

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