I have a friend who is a total city girl, works in a high profile job and travels a lot internationally for her job. She grew up in another country, with a maid and a cook, and had one most of her adult life also, until she moved to Jersey. I have a lot of respect for her, this is in no way critical of her background or knowledge level, she's one smart cookie.
Lately she has taken an interest (sort of a macabre fascination, I think, no intention to actually DO any of it) with the difference in our life as compared to hers. She cannot imagine living in the middle of nowhere (in her words, "with nothing to do"), and yesterday I had to explain to her what home canning is, in a conversation regarding pickling our surplus eggs (she did not know what those are either). Had to post a picture of canning jars, she has never even seen canning jars, nor had any idea that people actually still use such a thing!
At the end of the conversation, she said what so many people say (again having NO idea that it is not acceptable to say this), "If Armageddon happens, I'm going to you!".
I've noticed that most people who say this have NO IDEA what it is they are actually saying, nor how rude it is to say, "I am not prepared, have no idea how to prepare, don't want to learn and won't bother, but if I ever need anything I can take comfort in the fact that YOU are prepared and come to you so you can use your hard earned goods and equipment to support me!". They never think that this is what they are actually saying! Homesteaders, avid canners, and preppers know this. They've thought it out.
So I said to her what I say to everyone who suggests such a thing:
"When the Zombie Apocalypse happens, you'd be welcome, but you have to be willing to help us continue to produce the things we need. So as long as you are willing to help plant the garden, and butcher the rabbits, and slop the hogs, you are more than welcome!"
This is usually where people decide that maybe there is an easier way to get a meal in the middle of societal meltdown!
I honestly mean that though, I would not refuse any friend or family member, or hanger on, if they are willing to work to sustain themselves, and not just beg free meals. If they cannot do that, we have to require them to leave, because there is not enough of US to go around to do more than support ourselves in difficulty, we don't have enough resources or physical capacity to support others who are capable of supporting themselves.
Those words serve as a warning, and a promise. They can take it either way. But I've learned that most people, when they hear them, quickly make a mental note NOT to come to us!
We would always be willing to hand someone a meal, and send them on their way. Once. If they need more, they need to work for it, for their sake as well as ours.
Our family comes first. That is our first stewardship, whatever our family consists of at the time. We have never been unwilling to help another person in need, even when it meant giving from our own poverty. But we will not contribute to KEEPING someone else in need, especially when it harms us to do so. It does nobody any good if we ALL run out, simply due to bad management.
I am not a prepper, this is just day to day survival here for us. To take on other people means that the food we preserved from last year's harvest will not make it until next year's harvest, unless we have people who are willing to help us establish some winter crops to tide us over, or make products to sell so we can buy more supplies, or to forage for wild foods, hunt game, etc. It does not take SKILLS on the part of those who come. The skills are already here. It only takes willing hands. People who are not offended by being asked to get dirt under their fingernails, and manure on their shoes.
There are those who think they can take what they want by force. But there isn't a self-sufficient family out there who doesn't enjoy spending family time together target shooting. Most are willing to defend their family with deadly force if necessary.
My heart says, "Be generous.". And many times we are, even when it does not feel "wise" to be, because we trust in the blessings of the Lord, if we give as generously as we can.
But we also have a responsibility to wisely manage what we have been given, and God holds us accountable for that as well.