Where To Find Food When The Shelves Are Empty

 

Watch 4Patriots Customers Pam and Tom’s video story of
surviving a hurricane here:

 


 

There’s something very eerie about empty shelves in grocery stores.

Especially when images are plastered all over the news during a disaster. Sometimes almost as frequently as those of the forecasts showing potential paths of storms…

But for many living through those storms, it’s a stark realization that there is no food available for them. And there’s no telling when there will be again.

People count on stores to have all the food and other essential items they need. But when shelves are picked clean, panic sets in.

Long Lines & Vacant Store Aisles

Take for example when Hurricane Harvey was approaching Houston in the late summer of 2017. Or when Hurricane Florence was approaching the East Coast in the late summer of 2018.

Officials in the alerted areas frequently warned everyone to stock up on supplies.  Including food and water, before it was too late.

But even then, people stood in lines for hours to enter stores. When they finally got inside the doors, they realized how badly supplies had dwindled… if they got any supplies at all.

Rationing kept them from getting more than one loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. And at some stores, people were turned away before they even reached the doors because all the food was taken.

Pictures of the lines and vacant store aisles were flooding online forums well before the storms arrived.

Delivery disruptions

People stockpiling food is not the only reason stores can’t keep food on their shelves when a major storm strikes.

In addition, vehicles carrying food, water and other supplies can’t make their deliveries on time. Or even close to on time.

During Hurricane Florence, parts of Interstate 95 were closed. That’s one of the nation’s busiest interstate highways. It runs along the East Coast from Florida through Maine and into Canada.

The same thing happened with Interstate 40. It runs from California to North Carolina. As it has often been said, “No trucks, no food.”

Stockpile Food Now

Now, many disasters disrupt the food supply chain for a week or more. So it’s important to have non-perishable survival food ready and waiting before there is a threat of extreme weather.

In fact, FEMA suggests that you have enough food and water to get you and your family through at least 72 hours of an emergency at the bare minimum.

However, if you don’t have an emergency supply of food, there are some things you can do to acquire food when store shelves empty. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Food Pantries: Most pantries have stocked up on food since the last crisis. So, there should be a supply if you get there ahead of the storm.
  • Emergency Shelters: While the goal of a shelter is to have shelter, they usually have food in the form of donations from concerned citizens.
  • Soup Kitchens: These havens for the hungry are even more crowded during a crisis than normal. Again, get there as soon as they open.
  • Bartering: Maybe you don’t have food in a crisis. But perhaps you have something else that someone needs and is willing to trade for.

Regaining Control Through Preparedness

You may remember Pam and Tom. And how grateful they were that they had stocked up on supplies before Hurricane Irma pounded Florida in 2017.

Pam and Tom lost power for 2½ days. But they were able to hunker down and handle it due to the preparations they had made.

Take a look at the video posted at the top of this blog on what they had to say about dealing with that vicious storm.

Pam said, “I know when I opened that package of Potato Soup, we felt like we were in control of the situation. We were going to eat. And not sandwiches or peanut butter.

“We just want to take care of ourselves. We don’t want to be afraid… We don’t want to rely on somebody else to give us something we can have, on our own.

“My best advice is to start (preparing) soon,” Pam said. “The sooner you start, the better off you’re going to be.”

Don’t Wait to Prepare

If an extreme weather event or other disaster has never struck close to home for you, consider yourself fortunate. But also realize that it’s probably just a matter of time.

Everyone needs to have non-perishable, good-up-to-25-years survival food on hand in case of emergency.

As people in Houston, North and South Carolina saw in years past, canned foods are one of the first items to disappear off the store shelves in a crisis.

And since most people don’t start dealing with a crisis until it’s already on top of them, by then it’s often too late to prepare.

The time to act is now, before a crisis occurs.

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