Here is a submission from Emily in Missouri:
Emergency Kit - "Hello stranger, it's been awhile..."
My mother gave us a 72 hour kit for Christmas one year to kick off our emergency preparedness. The bright blue backpack sat ready by the garage door. It sat, and it sat, and it sat. Years later, I decided it was time to check on our goods. To my surprise, most of our goods were well past their expiration dates.
I called the makers of the fine products and discovered that it is definitely NOT safe to consume any edibles past their expiration date. Funky granola bars, goodbye! The water however, was still okay to keep around (most pre-packaged water products have a shelf life of 5 years.)
The need to update my emergency kit prompted me to go a little further. I now have two backpacks. Backpack #1 is filled with food and beverage items: jerky, granola, peanut butter, trail mix, snack bars, Twizzlers to keep smiles on our faces, and of course water. Backpack #2 is filled with other essential items like toilet paper, candles, flashlights, tarps, tube tents, solar blankets, a first aid kit, emergency cash, and a little more water.
Now in the event of a devastating tornado or earthquake, my husband and I can each grab a backpack and know we'll be okay for awhile.