one can

Have You Heard About One Can A Week?

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As a person who feels the need to be prepared for emergencies of all kinds, and to also help others in their preparation efforts, one can at a time has been my motto for many years. Have you heard about one can a week? Sometimes people get overwhelmed when they start a food storage plan. I’ve been wanting to update this post so I can assist those who may be getting started in their emergency preparation journey.

Let’s make this really easy and plan to get one can a week each time we go shopping. It can be a #10 can of dehydrated or freeze-dried meat, vegetables, fruit, wheat, rice, etc. I will explain the difference between dehydrated and freeze-dried below.

You can also buy one can of beans, chili, fruit cocktail, peas, or any other fruit or veggie each week when you go to the grocery store. It’s one extra can you didn’t have yesterday. Once you get a significant inventory, be sure to rotate what you buy and eat what you store.

Cookbook: The 100-Day Pantry

Cookbook: The Can Opener Gourmet

Have You Heard About One Can A Week?

Have You Heard About One Can A Week?

Closed Grocery Stores

I hope people realize that if we have a major disaster our local grocery stores may be empty within a matter of hours. You may not be able to even drive to any stores if there is a significant disaster that wipes out roads or bridges in your area. Our local government officials may ask us to stay off the roads because of ice, heavy snow, or the roads are washed away from a flood.

There could be one of many possible reasons we must have food stored in our homes. Water is first and foremost when it comes to storage concerns, but today we are talking about canned food.

Water Needed

In case you don’t know, the water needed per person per day, according to The American Red Cross, states one gallon. I prefer 4-gallons per person per day. But that’s how I roll. We need water for hydration, hygiene, cooking, cleaning, and spit baths. Yes, I have baby wipes I could use in a pinch, and if they dry out I can add some water, they will still work for small personal cleanups.

As we discuss food storage, always remember that many foods require some water to make them usable. That especially goes for any dehydrated foods on your shelves. You’ll want to “reconstitute” them by adding some water so they take on as much of their former shape and texture as possible. Even a can of soup generally requires a can of water for it to have the consistency you’ll want when it comes to serving it.

One Can Of Food

My favorite food storage products for the long term are freeze-dried items because they have a longer shelf life if stored in optimal conditions. That means you don’t want them stored in your hot garage.

Read More of My Articles  Popcorn for Food Storage

Every brand is different when it comes to estimated shelf life, so check the brands available and then you can decide to purchase the ones you feel have the best price per ounce and the longest shelf life. Be sure to check the labels so you can see when it was packed and the estimated shelf life for that particular product. Don’t plan on all the products from the same manufacturer having an identical shelf life, they will vary. Freeze-Dried Foods by Linda

Freeze-Dried Food Storage

Pros: Freeze-dried lasts longer.

Pros: You can eat most freeze-dried fruits and vegetables right out of the can.

Pros: Freeze-dried foods tend to taste better.

Cons: Freeze-dried products are more expensive. They have also shown significant increases over the past few months.

Dehydrated Food Storage

Dehydrated food has been around for years. Dehydrated food does not store as long as freeze-dried, but who cares if you are going to use it within 5-8 years. As with freeze-dried foods, the various products will have a different shelf life. I buy dehydrated potato slices, they are awesome! Dehydrated Foods by Linda

Pros: Dehydrated food is cheaper in price compared to freeze-dried.

Pros: There is a wide variety of dehydrated foods.

Cons: To make it the most flavorful and with the desired textures, generally dehydrated food must be cooked using your stored water or it will not be edible. You also need to think about fuel to cook it if the power is out and you don’t have a workable stove.

One Case At A Time

We’ve been talking about building up your storage inventory by buying one can at a time. If it fits your budget and you have adequate space, consider buying your canned goods by the case. Most grocery stores will have case lot sales at least once a year. It seems they often have these sales in the fall of the year.

I may have told you this story before about a woman I know who buys several cases of food at case lot sales with the plan that she’ll eat from those cases for as long as a year if a disaster hits her neighborhood. She is a single elderly woman who knows the need to be prepared. She prefers fresh food, but realizes that fresh foods may not be available when disasters strike.

Before the end of the year, and before the food expires, she donates all of it to the food bank and then starts over. If that doesn’t give you chills I don’t know what would. She is amazing, I LOVE her preparedness and giving attitude.

52 Weeks: One Can At A Time

These cans can be dehydrated, freeze-dried, or cans of food down any grocery aisle that has food you and your family will eat. Of course, we still need the basics to bake bread, tortillas, biscuits, crackers, etc. Today it’s all about one can at a time. Note that with some items on the list you typically buy them in a package rather than a can, but the idea is the same:

  1. Beans
  2. Chili
  3. Spaghettios
  4. Soup
  5. Stews
  6. Corn
  7. Green beans
  8. Peas
  9. Beets
  10. Apple slices
  11. Instant milk
  12. Butter, Red Feather is my favorite Red Feather Butter
  13. Canned Bacon Yoders Bacon
  14. Peaches
  15. Applesauce
  16. Mac and Cheese
  17. White Rice (bags)
  18. Salsa
  19. Ravioli’s
  20. Pasta (packages)
  21. Crackers
  22. Mayo
  23. Mustard
  24. Miracle Whip
  25. Cans of tuna
  26. Cans of cooked hamburger
  27. Cans of cooked chicken
  28. Cans of roast beef
  29. Cans of chipped beef  Linda’s Chipped Beef Recipe
  30. Freeze-dried cheeses (there are so many to choose from at Thrive Life)
  31. Cream of chicken soup (my favorite)
  32. Chicken broth
  33. Sweet potatoes
  34. White potatoes
  35. Broccoli
  36. Spinach
  37. Olives
  38. Spaghetti sauce
  39. Tomato sauce
  40. Zucchini
  41. Asparagus
  42. Chocolate
  43. Peanut butter
  44. Jam or jelly
  45. Green chili sauce
  46. Cauliflower
  47. Celery
  48. Carrots
  49. Tomatoes
  50. Freeze-dried chicken
  51. Freeze-dried beef
  52. Hardtack candy
Read More of My Articles  20 Items To Start Your Food Storage Plan

One critical aspect of food storage is to be sure and buy what your family will eat. Some family members tend to be picky eaters, so consider their needs. Also, you may have members with food allergies or special diet needs, those issues need to be taken into account. All you need to do is write down what your family typically eats each day, then buy accordingly. My printable worksheet may help you. Where Do I Start by Linda You can fill in the areas with ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It has a place on the side to put down the food items you want to purchase.

I had a reader mention on Facebook that only the rich and wealthy can afford freeze-dried or dehydrated food. I am not wealthy by any means. I buy a case of six cans once every quarter. I have been doing this for years. You may know people who have purchased pallets of food delivered to their homes. I’m not one of those.

Update: as of today with the prices of freeze-dried food, I have stopped buying #10 cans. They are way too expensive right now.

I put everything in alphabetical order so I can see at a glance what I have on hand. Then I can see the areas where I need to add one can or more to the shelf.

Why is it important for me to have food and water stored?

I have some readers who will indicate they don’t fully understand why I’m so passionate about preparedness, and particularly food and water. We often think our storage will come in handy only if we have a major disaster or emergency situation. Please remember that life events can come in many shapes, sizes, and frequencies.

Do you know anyone or a family experiencing job loss, health challenges, recent car or in-home accidents, loss of the breadwinner, etc.? Lately, it seems we’ve been aware of people affected by all the above challenging incidents. No one expects these things to occur, but if you’ve planned ahead “just in case,” you’ll be so much better off than your neighbor who didn’t.

Final Word

Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. Please be ready for emergencies or disasters that may come your way. If someone asks you, “have you heard about one can at a time,” you can answer that you have and that you’re also following through and building up your food storage inventory. Throw in an extra case of water in your grocery basket from time to time, you’ll need that when it comes to putting your dehydrated food to use. You’ll be glad you don’t have to stand in line to get water if your water is contaminated in your neighborhood. May God Bless this world, Linda

My book would be a great asset: Prepare Your Family For Survival by Linda Loosli

Copyright Picture:  AdobeStock_103207687 by Julie Clopper

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  1. This is such a great idea. It is also a great idea that I could donate the unused items as the next year cycles through. I think I will print off the list and add in my months of canning, eliminating the food purchase at the grocery that week. That money would go to the fresh produce that I buy for my bottles. I’ve been using my year old self canned goods/ expiring goods for meals for the homeless now that the weather is so cold. Thank you for a great “jump off” list. 

    1. Hi, Jan, I have served food a couple times at a homeless shelter, I would hope that people would donate food to someone I care about someday who becomes homeless. The jump list is pretty easy to follow, thank you for your kind words. Linda

  2. Another spin off of this technique would be to buy 2 cans and use 1 older can. That way every week you know how to use the products and can decide whether your family likes it, and if not to try another brand. That’s how I found out that I mistakenly bought Beef TVP instead of real beef! Also, one brand just might be better or freeze dried is better than dehydrated or vice versa. We open up a #10 can every week and if we don’t use it all, the next week we open up something that goes with it so that it’s gone pretty fast. This week we opened up a #10 tin of Marinara Sauce (freeze dried). So we’re going to see if it also makes a good pizza sauce, whether the family likes it or not, see if it might go with other things and would it make a manageable tomato soup or could it be used to stretch tomatoes in chili. That way if there is a problem and we must use our food storage in earnest, we know what we can make and how to combine things with it. It’s been fun and sometimes challenging, but we always learn something when we open a can of something we haven’t used before. Then we keep notes and recipes so we don’t forget what worked well for us.

    1. Oh, Debbie, the TVP, I got the giggles again! I have never purchased a #10 can of Marinara Sauce, that’s awesome!!! I need to look into that. I love hearing how you are trying out cans each week, every one need to do that. I learned Asparagus is tough and nasty. BUT, I could make a soup if I cut the pieces very very very small! LOL! Life is good with food storage. It’s a blessing and a necessity. Hugs, Linda

  3. The idea of buying the #10 cans and using them as parts of meals is a GREAT idea! And as Debbie O above mentions, you can use parts of, say, the tomato marinara sauce to create other foods like the pizza mentioned, spaghetti, soups, etc.
    But sometimes the large can is just too much for the single person, like myself, to go through in a timely fashion, regardless if I make other meals out of the contents. Sometimes I just DON’T want to cook. KNOW what I mean?
    So for me, having and using a Vacuum Sealer comes in super handy. I can divvy up the larger can into smaller portions and not worry about potential spoilage or waste.
    Also, if the need arises and a neighbor needs to “borrow a cup of sugar,” SHAZAM! Pre-measured and ready to hand out.
    I buy as much (most, actually) of my FD or Dehydrated foods in the #10 cans myself, but as much as I LOVE Beef Stroganoff, would I REALLY want to eat it night after night, meal after meal, until the can is empty. Hmm. Probably not. Well, maybe?!?
    Anyway, just a suggestion that I’m sure others have considered themselves.
    Oh, and DON’T toss the cans. You can be a Hero by making those small Rocket Stoves to hand out to those less fortunate in a time of grid down or as an economical means to cook when the propane for the backyard BBQ is exhausted. Just a few twigs for fuel, a match or lighter to start the fire and KOWAGUNGA, cooking PDQ.
    Anyhoodle, just a couple of suggestions and I Pray everyone is in good Health!
    God Bless.
    PS, Linda, I truly enjoy reading your articles. I’m a pretty old critter and have been prepping in some form or fashion since the late 60’s (Yeah, I’m OLD! Hahaha!) but I never seem to come away from reading your articles and the comments therein without having learned SOMEthing new. Or a better way to build a new mousetrap. So you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, so to my fellow Silver Haired Peppers, DON’T GIVE UP OR QUIT! You CAN do it too!!

    1. Hi, Huggy, oh how I love your comments! I think you and I were preppers before that word became a word. Your comments about the cans will help someone cook a meal for sure! Your words are kind, we learn from each other. I agree with you on the #10 cans, they are too big for even Mark and myself. I only the onions and celery which I use within a year. Bonus, I stay out of the grocery stores. I haven’t heard that awesome word, anyhoodle for years! My mom used that word all the time. It was awesome hearing from you! Linda

  4. Our rule for many years has been “one cat, one dog, one protein”. If either of us is at the market, in addition to that trips purchase, we add one item for each of the animals and one can of something protein for us. This usually translates to a can of cat food, a can of dog food and a can of tuna/chili/chicken etc. Our animals earn their keep around here, so we know we must take care of them also. These three extras often only amount to an extra two dollars on our bill, and it’s allowed us to stock a good supply for the animals, and canned chili for us too!

    1. Hi, Theresa, I LOVE this! One cat, one dog, one protein! It makes sense for everyone and our beloved pets! Thank you for sharing this awesome idea! The cost is low and we can sleep at night knowing we have some food for the whole family! Linda

  5. I have done 1 or 2 cans a week for years. I was wondering, is there any way I can easily calculate how many meals I can make from my food on hand? I have a pretty comprehensive inventory of my pantry and would like to see how many meals it would make.

    1. Hi Cher, first of all, I love hearing you are storing food in your pantry and that you have an inventory of the items. Here’s the deal with knowing how many meals you can make. If you cook from scratch you can stretch many meals. I sense you cook from scratch and therefore you have the advantage of feeding more people with less food. How much does each family member eat? The ages of each family member would make a difference. How many calories do you want each family member to eat? I have seen “buckets” of food storage that say they feed a family of four for three days. REALLY? Some of the meals would be enough for a toddler, not a man. I wish there was a magic system to give you a plan. I put together a sheet for seven days. “Where Do I Start”. It helps people plan for seven days.You rock for being prepared. Linda

  6. We have bought a little at a time for quite a while. It has gotten to the place, where we only replace now. I never open the cans of freeze dried peaches, since they are so good that we eat the can quickly.

    1. Hi, Janet, I’m the same way, if I open those freeze-dried pineapple cans, they are gone! I open them when my grandkids come, it’s healthier snack. I’ve cut way back on buying my #10 cans. Mark and I have plenty, I did buy a case of something a few months ago. Linda

          1. I’ve made hard candies like the cinnamon ones, but in different flavors. I don’t anymore as Larry’s diabetic and can’t have them. I’d like to find a sugar free one recipe for hard candies. Hum, off to google. Actually I use Duck Duck Go.

  7. Linda,
    Good post, as usual. However, with the horrible situation in this country currently, I think the most important part of your post is buying a case at a time, but even better several cases at a time. Right now, while freeze dried lasts much longer, those who have not prepared should focus on buying canned goods that are dated a couple of years out. They will most likely be needing those cans within the next year anyway. God help us make it through this debacle.

    1. Hi Harry, you are so right, those that don’t “get it” will be on their own literally. I still have people ask me why I write about food storage and emergency prep. It will take a lot of articles, empty shelves at the grocery, and gasoline shortages before they do something. OR they may not. I totally agree we need God to help us through this debacle. Stay safe stay well, my friend, Linda

  8. Great article Linda! Don’t forget some goodies like chocolate, brownie, cake & cookie mixes! I just got Betty Crocker brownie mixes on sale for 79 cents – woot! Those are great to have on hand when you need a quick treat for family, visitors, when kids need to take cookies somewhere, etc. You can dress them up by adding ice cream and hot fudge (of course I have a few jars of hot fudge stored and ice cream in the freezer)! I found I can keep chocolate a long time in a cool, dry place. I even found I can use my Food Saver to put candy in mason jars (buying it half price after holidays works great). I recently tried some Halloween candy in jars that had nuts in it (peanut M&Ms & Snickers) that was 6 years old and it was still very good (also stored in cool, dry, dark place).

  9. I have to comment on Have food your family will eat. So many prepper articles I read say that. I say, unless it’s a food allergy or special need, teach your family to eat. Do you have picky eaters? You may be a picky eater. I don’t understand people with children who will eat pizza, but not tomatoes. Again, unless it’s a food allergy or special need, picky eaters are made not born.

    1. Kathryn: Picky eaters are the product of poor parenting.When it comes to kids and food it is a matter of a competition of wills that you must win for the kids sake.

      At my grandmothers house(her name was Kathryn by the way)it only took one time of eating for supper what you didn’t finish for breakfast.

      When visiting someone’s home and they offered food we always said that whatever they had would be just fine.My folks lived thru the depression and I still believe their stories about how difficult it was to put food on the table.

      Kids will constantly test your resolve.It’s what kids do.God bless the little nose miners.

    2. Hi Kathryn, oh my gosh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment! I totally agree about allergies or special needs food. When I was growing up, thankfully we did not have any allergies or special needs, we were blessed with baking able to eat anything. My mom was a single mom and then married my step-dad. Well, if we didn’t eat the pizza with tomatoes, we didn’t eat. I love that comment! We could not be picky eaters, we only had so much food, take it or starve. That sounds mean, but I raised my daughters the same way. Picky eaters are made, not born. Thank you, Linda

      1. Linda after my mother remarried, we had to try a bite of whatever was cooked. Carrots, at that time, yuck! I choked them down. They didn’t want to stay down though. Now I love cooked carrots. One thing I still don’t like is sweet potatoes. Don’t know why. With liver, we started to like it. I still like it, but I can’t eat it if I do cook it. I smell raw liver on my hands for hours, and hours. Yep, I’m weird.

        1. Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, I grew up on liver and onions. Was it cheap back then or what? I never buy liver, I don’t think I ever bought it after I left home. LOL! Oh, and chicken livers, they had to be crispy! Oh my gosh, the memories! The carrots, yucky. Mushy carrots and canned peas. LOL! Linda

  10. I do agree with the reader about freeze-dried. At my age, 71, I’m not interested in 25 year shelf life.
    I’ve lost very few cans of food—comparing a case of vegetables’ cost with freeze-dried, I fare better with cans.
    Mind you, I’m using old costs….like 2010-2015. I could get a case of Libby’s peas or corn or green beans on sale for $4–33¢ a can.

    I just pulled 2013 green beans and peas from the shelf…need to open, judge freshness and use or discard.
    I didn’t have as many as I thought…I’m really heavy on canned corn..vegetable soup, ya know.

    1. Hi JayJay, I hear you on the 25-year shelf life. I’m 71 as well. What I have, I bought many years ago. I have so many cans of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, they will last my lifetime. I fill in with small cans from the grocery store. There will be shortages coming sooner than later. We must be diligent. Linda

  11. I also agree with the poster about one can vs. a case.
    If a case isn’t within the budget, get what is affordable. Prices changing week to week now, not month to month, grab it now.
    I was fortunate when restocking my 5 gallon bucket of spaghetti pasta…..the dollar a box in my cart got replaced with .50¢ boxes(same brand) I found on the sale shelves when looking for out of date bread to buy.
    I saved a few dollars that day.

    Many blogs I read are warning it’s too late to store food and essentials…I say, get what you can …it may save a life.
    Preppers are not looked at strangely any more.

    God bless and try to be a rainbow in someone’s rainbow today.

    1. Hi JayJay, I love your comment, get what you can it may save your life. Your comment, “God bless and try to be a rainbow in someone’s rainbow today”, makes me smile. Thank you, Linda

  12. I will tell you’ve I’ve also read and experienced that the old and young WILL starve rather than eat food they dislike. I will. As a kid my dad hunted and I would not touch that tough, strong wild meat. I’d sit there for hours if I had to. I’d have to leave the house if liver was cooked. My brother if he had to eat it would throw up later. Yup – I was quite thin. It is just as easy to store food your family will eat. Some food I store because I like it but when I cook with say mushrooms for example, I do it in such a way that others in the family can have theirs without. It doesn’t take that much effort. When I had picky eaters I would NOT make them a separate meal but found an easy solution without turning family dinner into a fight (with 5 kids many times someone didn’t like it) was that they could make themselves a peanut butter sandwich. I have now found that some kids – one with Aspergers on the autistic scale, another with very sensitive taste buds (he’s an incredible cook now who is in charge of final seasoning of a lot of dishes & telling me when something is rancid) – really struggle with strong flavors, textures, & smells. The SHTF is not the time to deal harshly with your family on food issues. But if that’s all you have to serve then that is that. Moral: store peanut butter! 😉

  13. I’ll try and keep this short. I grew up with my Grandma who survived the depression and food rations of WW2. So it was ingrained in me to be ready! After 911 I started to prep in earnest! I had what I figured was close to a year in food stores…. I was a bit off. In 2008 and the “Great Inflation” my Husband lost his job. we ate really well for 3 months then not quite as well for the next 3 months. I learned pasta or rice will make 1 can of protein go a llloooonnnngggg way! Soup is a life saver and meat isn’t necessary with every meal. What I thought was a year’s worth of food was in reality more like 6 months. Doug got a job and has since retired but we prep when the store has a sale. last week it was instant potato’s we bought 2 boxes to store and one to use now. Thank you so much for the time you spend writing this news letter I look forward to it.

    1. Hi Hazel, thank you for your kind words, you are so nice. I totally agree pasta and rice make a can of protein go a long way. I love love love your comment! Here’s the deal we are doing our best to be prepared. My goodness, 2008 was a bad year! I’m so sorry your husband lost his job but that YOU had food. What a blessing. I’m glad he got a job and has now retired. I love instant potatoes by the way! I have to share a funny story with you. When my husband and I had 4 little girls we stretched a can of tuna to make 7 sandwiches (homemade bread is more filling), LOL! The extra one was for Mark’s lunch the next day. My sister came to visit one summer and she said to me, you cannot make 7 sandwiches out of a can of tuna, oh yes I can and we did it for years. They were skimpy with tuna but perfect with my homemade bread. Life is good when you know how to stretch the groceries! Linda

  14. When I started food storage, I looked at the lists and wondered how to cook it all. Beans and rice are fine, but not every day for months. I started looking for recipes that use canned goods and building my menus around those. I started off with this recipe 7 Can Soup (plus velveeta cheese) My husband built shelves in our food storage room and I bought plastic boxes from the dollar store and in those boxes I put a copy of the recipe and all the ingredients to make the meal. Some boxes have enough ingredients for one meal, others have enough for 5 or 6 meals.

    Here is another recipe that I adapted to food storage, a copycat recipe for Hamburger Helper cheesy Italian Shells. I add enough powdered (or instant) milk to make 2 cups of milk to the seasoning packet and just add water to the recipe. I usually use frozen ground beef for this recipe, however, I also have some Keystone canned ground beef and some Thrive freeze-dried ground beef, in case we don’t have access to ground beef.

    I found two cookbooks that helped a lot The Can Opener Gourmet and The 100 Day Pantry

    When I went to look those books up on Amazon, I found that there are several new ones. I got a copy of The Covid-19 Can Do cookbook for my kindle. Like many of the books, these are available for free on Kindle Unlimited so you can try them before you buy. Then if I like the book I will buy it, hopefully in used condition to save money.

    I have about 90 days of meals in my boxes, most with primarily canned foods. Now I’m using and rotating that out and adding more freeze-dried foods. Between my freezer, my “boxes” and freeze-dried foods, I have about 8 to 9 months of food for the 3 of us stored.

    1. Hi Topaz, thank you for the ideas on the recipes and the cookbooks. I just ordered them and put the links in my post. I love hearing you have 90 days of meals ready to go!!! AND food for 8 to 9 months!! Yay! These books will help so many people!! Linda

  15. I use any coupons that I can get and buy things I might not be out of but get at a great price. My husband has even started going through my coupon list so he can get what I miss, This is usually at Smiths which is a part of Kroger’s. I can also download Kroger coupons onto my Smith’s cards so that I get 2 coupons where if I only used the Smith’s coupons I would only get one Item. I really like when they have coupons that you can use for 5 like items. Those are really great.

  16. I forgot to mention when I go to Smiths I check my coupons for ones that may be going out of date before I go and delete them so someone else can use them. I check the coupons every Friday because that is usually when the new coupons come out and of course the day before we will go to Albuquerque for Doctors appointments and our shopping trips.

  17. Linda,

    I love that lady who donates her left over stock each year and starts fresh. It’s a great idea. Here in AZ no food bank will accept any food after it’s BB date. Most people don’t know that those dates are established by sales people and lawyers and have nothing at all to do with the food being good. Since it’s in the company’s best interest to sell you food that tastes good, their BB dates can be sort of “after this date you won’t get peak flavor,” but mostly those dates are there so you will buy more. I have eaten dozens of cans of food that was years beyond its date with no ill effects, and to my simple palate, no lack of flavor.

    Anyhow, I’m going to start following that ladies lead, especially if some of my stored food is nearing its BB date.

    1. Hi Ray, thank Ray, I thought it was a fabulous idea to give to the food bank when we know the need is so critical now more than ever. I agree with you on the BB dates, in the olden days (LOL!) there were NO dates! LOL! We just ate the cans of food and we’re still alive! Linda

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