The Survival Podcast Network > Citizens Assisting Citizens

Feeding the affected


Since one of our primary missions is feeding the people affected by a disaster, we would like to hear from those of you who have any experience feeding large groups, say 100 people or so.  Whether you are a professional with formal training or the "go to" person for family reunions or church picnics, we would like your input on things like equipment, types of meals, etc.

Thanks for your help.

I am not a professional but I am one of those go to people for various events.  I camp with a group of friends every year.  There are 60 of us and we set up a one kitchen and group hang out spot.

Here is a list of some of the equipment that has come in very handy for this camping trip and my big fat wedding and other parties.  These items are owned by various different friends and we lend stuff to each other as needed.

Propane burners and tanks.  We set up 2 propane grills and a 2 burner stove top to cook on.  We bring extra 5 gallon tanks.
Several of the really big 5 day coolers.

10' by 10' pop up canopies.  Most of the families have 1 or 2 of them.  We pool them and bring 8 or so on the camping trip.   

Several large stock pots that are 4 to 6 gallon size.  They are great for making beer, canning, heating water to wash dishes, and feeding large groups of people.

Some sort of griddle surface.  cast iron or a propane griddle top stove

Long handled ladles, serving spoons, spatulas and tongs.  Stainless steel holds up really well.

Giant serving bowls  are great to have for prep and serving

Chaffing dish frames, aluminum trays and Sterno cans.  I bought them for my wedding and have used them several times a year since.  Tongs and serving spoons

Plastic cutting mats and a set of cooking knives you are not worried about someone else abusing.

lots of paper goods.  cups, bowls, flatware, plates, napkins and paper towels.  Ideally stuff that is easy to burn.

If you have some power running several coffee machines at once is faster than waiting for a percolator style coffee maker to make coffee.   

Trash cans and liners.   We also have buckets for waste to be composted. This is real easy during prep.

Shelving is real handy when you are cooking for a bunch of people.  The plastic ones that come apart are real handy to get stuff off the ground.

Have extra  tea, sugar, salt, pepper, spices and condiments if possible.

Lots of dish detergent!  You will surprised how much you go through after a couple of meals with disposable dishes.

Two large bins to wash and rinse the dishes in.  We use 2 storage bins for washing dishes.  The one for the hot water gets some cold water in the bottom before the hot water is added.   Large towels make a good drip tray.

Have a sign up list for people to do chores to help.  Also have a donation jar with a note for things you are looking for set up.  Some people may be able to help and it will send a message for others to pitch in and help. 

I will add more to the list as I think about it

Depends on what you want to cook... if we're just wanting to get calories into people then Id suggest big ole pots of very basic soups or rice/beans.

same kind of stuff you'd do long term food storage with.

If we're throwing meat into the equation, Id go with whole pork loins.

Frugal Upstate:
One of the things we always did in the military when feeding the troops in the field was to have a handwashing station before you actually hit the chow line.  Frequently it was just big cooler (the kind with a spigot on it) or a 5 gallon water jug full of warm water and some soap, so folks could wet their hands, use some soap, then rinse so they would be eating with clean hands.

You don't want to feed a bunch of folks but have them get sick because they had funk on their hands before they hit the chow line!

Due to my desire to make some cash during high school I ended up working a couple of jobs as a fry cook at various fast food establishments. Yea Mickie D's, LJS etcetera!  ::)

While that doesn't sound all that helpful it did familiarize me with high-volume high-speed cooking and eventually landed me in a few volunteer kitchens. Though I was never called out to an actual disaster before going off to college, I learned how to set up a couple of tent kitchens and can probably offer a little bit advice regarding what seemed to work well and what was problematic.

There was definitely a focus on ensuring that we didn't make a bad problem worse. We learned quite a bit about food handling and safety issues under less than ideal conditions as well as hygiene concerns and how to put together a makeshift kitchen where we could stay on top of all of these things.

With that said, I'm not a pro, and it has been a long time since high school.  ;D

I can think of a ton of issues that would need to be addressed, far more than I can go into in a short post.

However, as an example, the equipment you'll need may not be as cut and dry as it seems. That is going to depend not only on a plan of action, but also what food items are available in the situation. That is assuming your plan is to go with food donations taken at the time of an emergency. That usually means you have to have a decent variety of storage, preparation and cooking options.


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