It seems like every few weeks some area of the world is hit with an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster. Even in highly developed areas like the United States, it can sometimes take days or weeks to get help to affected areas. In countries with a high level of poverty, those few days can mean the difference between surviving and dying. What if your kids could do a survive project that would help people living in areas that regularly have natural disasters?
Before beginning this project, find a missionary or program that is interested and willing to make sure your finished kits get to the people who may need them the most. Start the project by telling students about life in the area you have chosen to serve. Describe the natural disasters that happen regularly and the hardships they cause.
Tell students they are going to put together disaster kits to help people in the area be prepared for disasters. Explain that because of poverty, these people cannot afford the extra expense of buying things they may not use constantly. When disaster strikes, it can leave them vulnerable to injury, hunger and exposure to weather conditions. You can have the kids design fliers and collect enough materials to do this on a large basis, or just buy enough materials to make a couple of kits. If you live in a part of the country that gets a lot of hurricanes or tornados, people in poverty in your own town might even appreciate these kits.
So what items should go in a disaster kit? Your kit doesn’t have to include all of these items, but here is what is in a lot of kits:
- survival blanket that folds into about a 2in x 3in package
- ace bandage
- antibiotic ointment
- quick start fire starter (modern flint)
- cotton tinder (for starting fires)
- aluminum foil – about 18in x 12in should provide enough for cooking, reflecting needs, etc.
- fishing line (50 ft), 4 fish hooks, sinker
- thin wire (8 ft)
- emergency whistle
- cording (10 ft)
- duct tape
- safety blade or heavy duty scissors
- safety pins
- plastic sheeting that folds into small package
- canned foods with pop tops (check expiration dates)
- bottled water
All of the items but the food and water should be placed in a large zipper bag. If the people receiving the package speak English, consider including some basic survival and first aid instructions. Make sure any food has expiration dates far in the future, so the kit won’t expire and make someone ill. Since this is a Christian service project, I would love to see your family add a thin line Bible in an easy to read translation. Another nice touch would be a note explaining that you pray they never need to use the kit, but hope it is helpful if they ever do need it.
Note: If you do this service project and eventually hear stories of how your kits were used, please share them with us. We would love to share them to encourage others to make a difference.