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Distributing Food to a Crowd
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Distributing Food to a Crowd

After an evacuation during an emergency food supplies are often given out. The sure way to precipitate a fight between recipients is just to allow everyone to "form a line".

The best way to handle distribution of lunch, or sandwiches, or supplies, is to get a pack of index cards and number them 1-200. Hand them out.  If you are set for a while it is nice to plasticize (laminate) the cards. Then announce the numbers ten at a time (a loudspeaker or PA is nice to have) and collect them as the people pass through the line. Otherwise use a large dry-erase board. Write "1-10", "11-10" etc. in large letters and hold the board up.

This will ensure a small manageable line, equitable distribution of food, and eliminate squabbles and bad feelings. It also provides you with an accurate food count.

You can also prioritize feeding and segregate the elderly and children with this system.

If you have two feedings or distributions you can use a different color card for each one.
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144586_tn?1284669764
When stockpiling community supplies, think about the trash disposal problem. I am a believer in stockpiling wooden spoons, forks, knives, paper plates and paper cups for initial treatment of evacuees. That's just me. I look at stockpiled supplies for one community I advised and there is nothing but plastic. So much for paying attention to my suggestions.

These can be disposed of by burning. That's a nasty word in eco-city, but garbage is going to be a big problem. In a true emergency minor environmental rules may have to be broken.

Another helpful thing is to post a sign: "Only take what you intend to eat". This is a varient of the sign in military messes, "take what you want, but eat what you take."

In the choice of foods, serve those that can be entirely consumed. No chicken with bones, for example. Chicken ala King works. Chili works. Hamburgers work. Rice and beans work. This is for the initial period of feeding. The first week or so. Especially in a mass feeding. You want to have everyone eat everything and only have to worry about disposing of the paper plates and wooden utensils.

Plastic spoons and knives and cups are an unnecessary complication.

And wood and paper work just as well.
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144586_tn?1284669764
When preparing sandwiches for a large number of people, the traditional sanitary way of storing them is in clear plastic wrap or a brown paper bag.

You may not have either in a disaster. Another alternative is simple inexpensive copy paper. It comes in a ream of 500 sheets (in the United States). One sheet makes a nice wrap for one sandwich.
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