Grocery donations are a priority in the city as locals panic about grocery shopping

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With recent power outages and water problems, residents have put a lot of effort into preparing for unforeseen disruptions to their daily lives.

Distribution points have been created across the community to meet demand for food as both food banks and additional community organizations have worked to provide food for those in need.

The Laredo Regional Food Bank is holding an emergency food distribution on Friday from 8 a.m. until supplies last. A social media post stated that customers must have valid ID, wear face covering, and be limited to two families per vehicle.

To help the community, Laredo Regional Food Bank staff and volunteers visited the western parts of the city and distributed water and non-perishable goods during the week. A video posted shows a volunteer inviting the neighborhood to go out and receive bags of items and stresses that they were free.


At the South Texas Food Bank, operations had been suspended since Sunday due to a power outage, but food distribution resumed on Thursday lunchtime. Similar to previous COVID pandemic distributions, the line spanned blocks with those in need of food during the freeze.

According to STFB director Alma Boubel, the distribution action took place in the morning after the electricity was finally restored on Wednesday evening. It was in response to the high demand for food for the community, a culmination of two overlapping emergencies in a week.

If the need continues through Friday, Boubel said the food bank would host another food distribution. Locals can line up and receive donations as long as they have ID with them showing they are residents of the county.

Boubel added that the panel has been working on food delivery since March but, given the current weather emergency, it will not ask questions about the customer’s emergency demand and will continue to feed everyone in line.

“It is unfortunate that we cannot serve until today, but we had no power here and I was unable to get anything out of my product,” said Boubel. “But we’re out here in the wind and cold, doing our best to feed the community and help a little with their needs.”

However, amid the panic of grocery shopping, many have left the shelves of local grocery stores empty. This has resulted in those with no groceries combing the city for eggs, milk, etc. On Thursday afternoon, HEB stocks on Del Mar and McPherson were low as shelves of produce, dairy, protein and bread were empty.

With customers reaching to the back shelves to find what they were looking for, it was clear that Laredoans would continue to rush and buy the shelves dry in an emergency.

In order to keep the inventory of items on the shelves, HEB has put a purchase limit on items while it continues to be replenished. According to the grocery store’s recommendation, the limit was set to two categories: groceries and non-food items. All are limited to two items.

The foods include:

Brisket.

Frozen Chitterlings 5 ​​lb.

Frozen Chitterlings 10 lb.

Water gallons.

Water multipack.

Baby water gallons.

Baby water multipack.

Eggs.

Milk.

Loaf.

Ice.

The non-food items include:

Propane tanks.

Aerosol disinfectant sprays.

(Isopropyl) alcohol swabs.

First aid and cleaning gloves.

Disinfectant wipes / sprays in test and travel size.

Boubel said there have been cases when customers couldn’t find food in the grocery stores and queued at the blackboard to get food for the day. The freezing weather on the streets may cause logistics issues to replenish shelves, but the STFB will continue to provide food until it is used up. There is already a plan in place to continue helping the community, and an issue like shortage of inventory is not an issue right now.

During the distribution, families were given a variety of food packages containing fruits, vegetables, trail mix and more. With about a million dollars in protein in the bank’s fridge and no power since Sunday, Boubel said it was lucky it wasn’t compromised.

In some cases, the power failures resulted in food spoilage at customers’ homes. In other cases, elderly customers with no food were not transported to the table to receive help. Although there is no delivery service, the STFB is planning some kind of delivery for elderly and sick customers. She also added that the STFB is also providing food for shelters throughout their area of ​​operation.

“We will continue to try to do as much as possible for the community,” said Boubel.

Milton Elementary School staff also helped the community, where hot meals were distributed to families and students as part of a drive-through operation. Photos showed LISD staff and teachers preparing meals inside, wearing masks and warm clothing.

United South High School members also helped the emergency by deploying 100 pizzas across the entire Highway 359 area, which was placed under a boiling water indicator on Wednesday night. And Cuellar Elementary employees delivered pizza, juice and water to 50 local families who continue to struggle without electricity and water.

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