Saturday, March 14, 2020

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Yikes!

I must admit that there are weeks I am not very excited about writing the Saturday Pantry Posts.  I feel a little bit like the movie Ground Hog Day except for me it is saying the same thing over and over... stock up and be prepared.

Last week I was feeling in an "I told you so" mood.  This week, however, has gone so far beyond my wildest imaginations of what could happen (and I'm good at end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenarios) that even my "I told you so" has been silenced.  I feel like I haven't warned people enough to stock up in the good times in case there is a not so good time... and we all have them in life.

Who could have imagined a few weeks ago that everything would be shutting down?  Everything from schools to Broadway to basketball championships to Spring Training.  Closed signs are up all over the place.  Even most of the churches in the area have decided to stop their regular services, keeping only their small groups going in individual homes.

I went to Kroger early yesterday morning, thinking I would get there before there were a lot of people (I stay away from large crowds during flu season, anyway).  It was so busy that I had trouble finding a parking place in the huge parking lot and there were only two grocery carts available when I walked in the door.

I only went there to purchase some fresh veggies so I quickly went to the produce section, put what I needed in my cart, and went to an empty self check out machine to pay and get away from the crowd.  Later on the local evening news, a reporter was standing outside of that store interviewing people who had stood an hour in line later in the day just to check out.

I hope people will remember these empty shelves and long lines when this emergency situation is over.  Except for items that are perishable, it is an excellent idea to keep a basic stock of food and essentials at all times and rotate in new items on grocery days (bringing the oldest items forward, placing the most recently purchased items in the back).

I filled in a few places where there was a need a couple weeks ago while the shelves were well stocked, items like gallons of water that I kept forgetting to buy.  I'm also keeping a list of those things I hadn't thought of before to purchase after this pandemic is gone.  Especially more First Aid and health items.

There are a lot of instances of price gouging, which I'm pretty sure in the state where I live is illegal in a time of emergency.  However, those of us who are people of faith should see this as the best time to care for others.  Which is possible if we did some stocking up ahead of time.

I was going to suggest doing some grocery shopping or purchasing a grocery store gift card for those people you know are on a fixed income and do not have the ability to stock up.  You may live in an area where the store shelves are empty so it may be necessary to take a sack of groceries and essential items (and perhaps prepared food and a baked goodie) from your own pantry shelves to someone who could not stock up ahead of time.

If necessary, place it on their door step and knock to let them know you dropped something off for them... and wave!   It is possible to be a carrier of the virus when you have no symptoms.  Which is why the country is shut down.

If you are still in need of essentials, remember that the most obvious stores sell out first like Sam's Club, Costco, Walmart, Target, etc.  You may be able to find some items at hardware stores, small grocery stores, and other places people may not think of right away.

In many ways, this pandemic has been like having a Hurricane Watch or a Winter Storm Watch for there was time to prepare.  You know, back when people were teasing you about stocking up "just in case".  However, the events of last week were more shocking than I think any of us anticipated.

The lesson we will take away from this is... be prepared.  Keep alert.  Be aware of events that may signal what is coming... like when China and then Italy shuts down.  Keep a basic level of necessary items in your pantry, etc.  Do not wait until the President declares it a National Emergency to go to the grocery store.

I believe a lot of good can come out of any crisis situation, if we ask God what He wants us to do and to learn.  Stay calm, read the Psalms, and wash your hands.

Note:  Annabel has some very good information about making your own hand sanitizer or wipes... here.


Cheri said...

I finished with my fresh produce stock up last Monday. The shelves here were still well stocked, in fact toilet paper and disinfecting wipes were on sale!

Thankful for my little town. Hubby and I are prepared to 'shut the front gate'. I inventoried my pantry, freezer and fridge and counted all the servings I had of various items. We are good for at least 2 months, probably 3.

If I do need to go out, I will go to our farm share (12 farmers sell once a week from a little building in town) and get their hydroponically grown lettuce so we will have some fresh food.

Also, I could go to our meat market and our health food store. These are small locally owned places that are seldom frequented by folks. In fact, I'm not sure how they stay in business - but I am grateful that they do!

Hubby has stage 4 cancer so we are taking the warnings seriously. I have always been one to have at least a month's worth of food on hand but I did ramp it up. I'm so thankful for the ability to do so and thankful for blogging friends like you who keep reminding us to be prudent.

Cheri said...

Forgot to mention - our governor closed all our schools for the next 3 weeks. He also recommended all gatherings of over 250 people be cancelled. Our church hovers right around that number, so it is not cancelled yet but we are going to listen on line to be safe.

Also....nursing homes. Once a month I do a Bible study and a hymn sing at our local assisted living/nursing home. That has been cancelled for the forseeable future.

Jenny said...

Things have not shut down in my state. I think we had 9 cases in our state at last count. Alot of events have been cancelled but churches are still meeting & most schools are still open.

We have had a run on the stores though I was prepared & bought the things I needed before the run.

copperswife said...

My daughters were both teens back in the Y2K prep days. Guess what? The skills and pantry keeping habits they learned as we prepared then, that they’ve continued to practice in lesser ways as adults, have meant that their households are in good standing for this current season. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy!

Anonymous said...

We followed some of your advice about stocking up-thank you, thank you. By the way, those of you with children might want to add some canned milk to your pantry.

Since we're in our late sixties with some health issues, we plan to "cocoon" at home for the duration and cross our fingers.Glad I also 'stockpiled' some books before they closed the libraries here :)

Here in Mississauga (Canada) they've extended the spring school break by 2 more weeks for now,closed the libraries,cancelled church services, etc.etc.

Take care.

Kathy T. said...

I buy a pack of TP every week whether I need it or not, so I’m lucky I didn’t have to fight the crowds for that. We’ll be fine on other stuff too. I’m like you - never did I imagine what would be going on in this country, and so fast! I read somewhere that this mess will bankrupt more people than it will kill. So scary all the way around. Hug your loved ones tight

mdoe37 said...

Sobering....but a nod to those of us who do tend to have deeper pantries and have taken flak over the years. My SO doesn't quite understand it, but is coming around after having to deal with a couple of ill timed power outages.

I just left C-ville an hour ago and checked in the grocery store to take stock of

things. TP, paper towels, baby wipes, most cleaning supplies were wiped out. The manager was unloading his personal truck when I walked in....he had a load of TP and paper towels...this was this 2nd run to get more on the day. They are now handing it out and not allowing free shopping. Surprisingly, diapers were in stock!?! THe cheaper spaghetti sauce was nearly gone...potatoes and onions gone.

Our public schools in MIchigan have closed. The food pantries and after school food program are scrambling to make arrangements to provide services. At this time, food boxes will be prepacked (as opposed to free choice) and taken to the person's car. Listening to a conference call last night, it will well thought that the outages will subside, but things will just be leaner.

You've touched on something VERY is vitally important to keep tabs on others to make sure that they have their needs met the best we can. I am actually heading to Costco tomorrow....I'm hoping to snag a couple of items...not for myself, but to assist others.

Trish Clark said...

This is my first time reading your post and I have to say it was excellent and so practical.
Being prepared doesn't mean we don't have faith in God. Thank you for confirming that.
I appreciate your wisdom and honestly.
Indeed, be mindful to think of others, not just ourselves. This is why we have decided to cancel our services tomorrow as well. (my son is a Pastor in our small Northern New England town).
We have many elderly and children. It just makes sense to be wise.
He has encouraged everyone to trust God, read their bible and Psalm 91 is perfect for such a time as this.
Again, I love your blog and look forward to perusing it during my time inside.
I am elderly so I am tucked in and staying put. (of course my son and his wife take good care of me. We share the homestead since my sweetheart passed away, You could say "I came with the house".

Well, good evening and God bless and keep you.
Trish Clark

Deanna Rabe said...

Our county is pretty crazy with people in a panic over toilet paper and water. Some are now starting to buy out the meat department at grocery stores.

Thankful we can avoid most of the crazy. Lots of closures here too, and I’m not too sad about it. Hopefully it will slow/stop the spread of the virus.

Mandy said...

You have some wonderful suggestions for helping others. I'm planning on checking on those I know could probably use a little help.

The Liberty Belle said...

A very good and timely post.

Margie from Toronto said...

Schools are now closed for at least 3 weeks and most other public events, gatherings. libraries, museums etc. are also closed. Every hour more and more venues seem to be following suit. A lot of people had already started working from home and I only work PT but can see just going in maybe a couple of half days to update websites and send out emails. I use the subway but travel after morning rush hour and head home before the evening one so that does help.

I have always kept a good pantry - even in just a small apt. (it's just me so don't need ridiculous amounts of stuff) and I have a few projects to work on, books to read and Netflix so I can keep occupied. I too would probably visit small local fruit & veg shops instead of big supermarkets as that is really all I would need. They also tend to sell things like milk & eggs so are very handy.

I do like to get out for walks so if possible I would go to a couple of local parks - they are huge venues so I could walk without coming into too much contact with others. I tend to go early in the morning so again not too many others around. If we are told to stay home then that's what I'll have to do. I'm lucky in that my apt. windows face west so I get lots of sunshine and I face out onto a woodland area so I can watch the birds and some small animals - could be worse - we will cope.