Operation “TOTES to US” Program

Posted on July 30, 2021
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Meet Patrick . He is a coordinator in North and South Dakota, part of Region 9. The territory is 148,000 square miles, but the population of these large states is below 900,000 each. While there are a few sizeable communities like Fargo (125,000), Bismarck (74,000), Sioux Falls (190,000), and Rapid City (80,000), most people live in very small towns, reservations, or on ranches. The Dakotas are primarily wild frontier.

It’s a challenge finding ways to provide support to people living in vastly different areas, and often at distances of 20 to 30 miles or more between communities.

Most dwell in towns and small cities, shopping locally for their daily needs. Ranchers and farmers live in geographic isolation and are comparatively independent and self-sufficient. One might think that, by the very nature of their lifestyle, they are inherently better prepared for shortages or disruptions in material supplies. However, one of our North Dakota CORAC members pointed out that, although ranchers might do better than others around the country in an economic collapse situation, this would only be for a short time: They are dependent upon regular diesel and gasoline deliveries to run farm equipment and trucks to haul livestock. They depend on cell phones and internet for business and communications like anyone else. They routinely go to a local store or make the long drive to population centers to buy groceries and supplies. In some ways, having vast distances between neighbors and commerce centers may put them in a more difficult situation than those living in centralized communities.

Certainly, the communications challenges for this region are foremost on Patrick’s mind, but right now he is inclined to invest his time and resources toward converting currency into food with the goal of helping all Dakotans in some small way.


Leading up to 2017, Patrick frantically bought as much dry food as possible and learned how to package this food into Mylar bags for long-term storage. (see the attached PDF for “LONG-TERM FOOD STORAGE”) This year, by contrast, he has been calmly buying large quantities of food mostly from Sam’s Club –– well over 10,000 pounds (5 tons) since February. This may seem like a lot to some, but even a ton of food is but a drop in the bucket when looking at feeding any appreciable number of people. It’s impossible to say how long this much food would last since only God knows how many people will need to be fed.


Because God can work with even the smallest speck of good will… food, in this case.

Originally, Patrick wanted to keep the dried food at the homes of one or two friends who had ideal, defensible locations for refuges. For one reason or another, however, this plan never came about. In fact, it was ultimately beneficial that it failed, as you’ll read shortly.

Since February, he’s been systematically buying and bagging up PINTO BEANS, WHITE RICE, and OLD-FASHIONED OATS into separate 1-gallon Mylar bags. Mind you, 1-gallon Mylars are grossly inefficient for bulk storage because such small, individual packages have spaces between them, taking up far more room than using 5-gallon buckets or larger tubs.


So that they can be more quickly and easily distributed to people. At 4 to 7 pounds each, these smaller denominations are relatively portable. They can be carried in a backpack by anyone on foot, each pack containing about 50 meals.

These Mylar pouches began quickly piling up in his living room, and he asked Our Lord to bless all the people who would consume this food at some point in the future. Looking apprehensively at the steadily growing mountain of mylars, he next asked Our Blessed Mother for guidance on the next step. He was so focused on finding a single place to put this sizable stash, but his plan of getting them to someone’s refuge was simply not happening. Still, he felt the urge to get this food out of his house promptly. What did he do next?


After 5 months of gathering food, this question was answered once he changed his thinking entirely: Rather than stockpile or horde the food in a basement somewhere, he decided to decentralize it, getting it into the hands of as many families as possible. Distribute it! Get it into as many basements and pantries as possible.

With providential timing, Marcia Williamson, who owns the Mustard Seed bookstore in downtown Rapid City, unwittingly kicked everything off. Without Patrick having to ask, she generously offered the ample space in her bookstore to keep the totes. In fact, she offered space in her store to be used as a central “depot” where people could come to pick up a tote full of food. All Patrick could say was, “That’s a brilliant idea!!”

Next, he called up several other CORAC members right away. He let them know that since they had signed up for CORAC, he was giving them a free tote of dried food with over 600 servings. “Just come on down to the Mustard Seed.”


Simply put, this move was a game-changer. The response was swift and immediate, and far more than Patrick was prepared for. People started coming to Marcia’s store. The word spread like wildfire. People called him out of the blue, “Hi Patrick. I would like to join CORAC and get a tote of food.” Many members who picked up their free tote would pull out wallets and checkbooks without any request for donations. To his surprise, he received quite a bit of donations in two weeks. Grateful, he put all contributions right back into buying more food. And back to Sam’s club he went.

For the past few weeks, Patrick has travelled throughout South Dakota: to Rapid City, Mitchell, Sioux Falls, and small towns in the heart of the state where our members live. He brought along many totes, not only to give to CORAC members but also to give to the new folks who were motivated to join. As a result, Region 9 has gained well over a dozen new members including an unknown number of family members since they began giving people totes of food.

Mind you, the totes are not to incentivize folks into joining – they are genuinely free gifts – but it was through this act of giving that blessings have returned several-fold. Likewise, CORAC members who received these totes have become more enthusiastic about our organization. Some who previously were not actively participating, or who were uncertain how they could help, have suddenly felt inspired to jump in, contributing their own ideas or finding other ways to get involved and spread our message of renewal and charity.


First, people are getting something tangible and inherently valuable from CORAC, a gift that will definitely benefit them in the future, one way or another.

Second, a tote full of long-term emergency food helps alert people to the seriousness of our situation during these uncertain times. It says that CORAC sees such preparations as prudent and necessary, confirming what some people already suspect in their hearts.

Finally, this shows that the CORAC family is willing to take real action to help others and their loved-ones. Simply giving someone a tote of food speaks volumes about our selfless investment of time, money, and energy for the benefit of others, literally putting our money – our faith – where our hearts are.


For more on “TOTES TO US” and how to start your own program, simply click on the following link to download the complete PDF file.


  1. MP

    This is the essence of CORAC, PD. Love it when people do stuff!

  2. MountainMama

    WTG Patrick!!! Looks like BVM showed helped you find your next right step! Such generosity and obedience is beautiful. Well done good and faithful servant!

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Leadership is not a position at CORAC, it’s a mindset fueled by the heart. In these challenging times of rapid change and uncertainty, we thrive by empowering our members –– from all walks and stages of life –– to humbly take an active role in our mission.  Now is the time to take responsibilty for the gifts God entrusted you with, use them for the benefit of others, and trust that God will multiply your effort to help reap an abundant harvest. In short, acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you.

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