Valentine’s Day is approaching and, love it or hate it, it does seem to bring out more gestures of generosity and kindness. With that in mind, we thought we’d bring up a nice way to use your freeze dryer to share some of that love.

If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that you can freeze dry almost anything, including entire meals or meal “kits”. Freeze dried food is easy to reconstitute, retains nutrients and keeps for up to 25 years. Freeze dried food is a foundation of self-sufficiency in emergencies – but there is a large segment of the population that struggles with self-sufficiency every single day.

Meals on Wheels Association of America reports that 1 in 6 people over 60 face the threat of hunger. That population includes half a million veterans. That statistic is staggering. If you think about the seniors in your life or in your neighborhood, it’s likely that at least one of them is struggling to make ends meet, or struggling to get proper nutrition. You see where we’re going with this?

If you’re part of the freeze dry community, we want to encourage you to consider making a little extra to share while you’re creating your own supplies. You might approach a senior neighbor by asking if they could take some “extras” off your hands, or ask if they’d like to try something from the new freeze dryer that you’re experimenting with. This approach allows people in need to maintain their dignity while accepting much needed help. Because they only need to add warm water, freeze dried meals are perfect for seniors with limited capabilities. And, there’s no need to limit your help to seniors. Many young families and single parents struggle to make ends meet, and anyone who is enduring a chronic illness or caring for someone who is ill may also appreciate a gift of quick, healthy meals.

One other point to consider is that Meals on Wheels organizations and animal shelters are reporting that struggling seniors are sharing their meals with pets because they can’t afford pet food. Healthy pet food is inexpensive to make in bulk and extremely easy to freeze dry in single meal batches. Veterinarian Ruth Roberts shares her recipe, the Crockpet Diet, for free on her website. (If you sign up for her holistic newsletter, you can download recipes for dog and cat food for free immediately and no one will bother you.) Your veterinarian may also have suggestions.

We like to talk about how people can help themselves when they own their own freeze dryers, but the truth is – a freeze dryer has a lot of helpful applications within entire communities. In fact, we’re seeing freeze dryers become the secret weapons of churches and food banks. If you share the love with your freeze dryer this year, let us know by sending an email or posting on our Facebook page – it can inspire others to do the same.