How Should We then Live–If Predicted Food Shortages Are Real?

I happened to be at the grocery store the same Friday afternoon in 2020 when our governor announced he was closing our schools because of COVID. The joyous mood in the large number of people (lots of kids) who crowded into this public place astonished me.

Bare shelves in the canned vegetable aisle also astonished me.

What was supposed to be two weeks turned into months and showed us a new way of living. Life has returned to normal for most of us. We hope that’s for good, but maybe not.

This summer has brought drought and failed crops to many locations. Inflation rages worldwide. At least one ministry that supports children overseas is asking donors to up their contributions to meet increasing food costs.

While a visit to a local food pantry assures me that excess food is plentiful in our community, it would take only a few weeks, maybe less, of widespread crisis to clear those shelves too.

We are on the edge of a crisis that may disappear in the next season or may worsen if rain doesn’t come in the right amount over the next year.

What should we do? We can do what people did in the past.


When I was young, my parents assured me that “a starving child in China” would love to eat the food I didn’t want. Of course, their logic didn’t resonate with me. They had grown up during the Great Depression and remembered the rationing during World War II.

I couldn’t imagine not having enough to eat.

Estimates show that Americans waste the equivalent of 30-40 percent of our own food supply every year. That waste produces CO2 at significant levels.

After Jesus fed the 5,000, he instructed his followers not to waste the leftovers: “And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’” John 6:12~

If we can’t eat it all, let’s consider other options.


We can preserve what we buy or grow but can’t consume as fresh. It’s time-consuming and old-fashioned to boil jars of fruit jam or tomatoes or use a pressure cooker to put home-canned vegetables on a pantry shelf. It’s also gratifying to take ripe produce and make it last on a shelf. Home-preserved foods make great gifts as well.

In a pinch, there’s always the freezer, which runs more efficiently if you keep it full. Consider a generator if your area is prone to power outages.

Give extra food away.

Sharing with a neighbor gives us an opportunity for fellowship. You can help someone in need save face by asking them to do you the favor of accepting your excess.

Sharing with a local pantry also helps our neighbors in need. (Remember, food provision ministries cannot accept food past the stated date on the product).

“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49~

Responsibly increase your supply.

It isn’t time to clear the shelves of all canned veggies in the supermarket. Buying an extra few cans every week leaves some for others.

Rotate your own stock.

In More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity, Jeff Shinabarger recounts a time he and his wife spent too much on Christmas. To make up their financial shortfall, they decided to avoid going to the grocery store for four weeks and eat out of their supplies.

As they ate their way through their pantry and freezer, they realized how much food they actually had on hand. Four weeks turned into seven as they (two adults, no kids at the time) wanted to see how long they could last without going to the store.

In the end, they endured an entire day of pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and topped the project off by ingesting some freezer-burned dinners that had sunk to the bottom of their appliance.

They consumed the no longer perfect food rather than throwing it away.

Finally, be thankful.

Whether it’s food that isn’t our favorite or something that’s seen better days but is still edible and nutritious, we can be grateful to have it.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. I Timothy 4:4-5~

Photo Credit: Pexels

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30 Replies to “How Should We then Live–If Predicted Food Shortages Are Real?”

  1. Absolutely Ms. Nancy; and I think this could happen sooner than many think. I also think some of it is purposeful. Learning the old skills of how to can, preserve, fish, clean animals, etc. is going to become more important soon.

  2. My parents taught me many important things in life. One of those things was to share with others. Although my parents didn’t have a lot of extra to give, they always shared clothing, food, and other resources with friends, family, and strangers. I pray we learn to value each other and to be appreciative of the gifts God has provided.

  3. My husband is a prepper and we have buckets of dried food stacked at our house. When we get home from Korea, we are already planning the garden we want to plant to grow more so we don’t have to depend upon the grocery store, and yes I will have to learn to can! We do need to be thrifty and realize how much we waste that could have helped someone else.

  4. This is really good! I like the idea of responsible stocking up while also being open to eating and making do with what we have. We actually try to do this as a family every paycheck. We budget what we’ll spend on groceries each pay period, and usually a few days before we get paid again, we run out of “grocery funds,” which I keep in an envelope in my purse. My kids complain, but I try to have us make do with what is in our pantry rather than what we think we want or “need” at the store. I find that we usually have a pretty full pantry even if my kids (or even I) complain “there’s nothing to eat.” Sometimes, living with a food shortage or other issue is a matter of shifting our own perspective.

  5. Here in our small Italian village many people still do a lot of canning from their huge gardens. The favorite foods are eggplants, zucchini, and artichokes, which they preserve in oil. And of course canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Their storerooms are lined with shelves of tomatoes. We often become beneficiaries of their largess. It’s a great way to live and helps them remain generous as well. But let’s hope and pray, Nancy, widespread food shortages won’t occur everywhere. Even though it’s already happening in some places.

    1. Let us so hope and pray. If we remain in abundance, may we creatively and effectively share well. Thanks, Signor Sheila, for your voice from Italy. The deprivation there during the Great Depression and World War II was much greater than they were here in those times. It sounds like Italians have done a better job hanging on to the principles of conserving and preserving. God bless!

  6. We live in unsettled times for sure. I’m praying for God’s provision as we try to make changes in our lives. Thanks Nancy.

  7. Where we live now, first thing we do is make sure we have bottled water and enough canned goods to survive a hurricane. Are our batteries and flashlights and other needed supplies ready? THEN we bring all of those canned goods up toward the front of our shelves if we get through the hurricane season without needing those stocks. When we were younger, we fed a growing family that grew to six children on a lone salary during a time of inflation in 1979 through 1982, and for the next decade it turned out. We were frugal. I made all of our own bread. We cooked our own food, no boxed meals, no eating at restaurants. I grew an enormous garden. We went to the food pantry if necessary.

  8. The generation that grew up during the Depression had so much to teach us by the way they lived their life. I remember the creative meals my Nana pieced together from leftovers. Nothing in her house was ever wasted. Conserve and reuse weren’t trends. They were a way of life.

    1. We’ve lost much of that creativity with the excess we’ve had in the ensuing years. We can retrieve those methods whether there are shortages or not. Thanks, Beth. God bless!

  9. What valuable, practical suggestions you offer here. I’m taking them to heart. Most of us have never lived in a time when food shortages were serious, but it’s time to realize our current situation is real.

    1. Perhaps our challenge is even bigger than our parents’ because we haven’t been tested this way before. We’ll need to show a discipline we have yet to develop. Thanks, Cancyce. God bless!

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