When California Governor Gavin Newsom issued statewide restrictions on going outside, the only services permitted to continue had to be deemed essential such as those related to food, prescriptions, healthcare, and commuting to essential jobs. Access to food is a concern many people have in this period of pandemic.
Nonessential services such as gyms, restaurants, and bars are being shut down. For restaurants, however, take-out services are still being offered and encouraged.
Now that saying home has become mandatory, here are some food essentials to have during this quarantine. According to the Homeland Security government website Ready.gov, it is suggested to purchase the following non-perishable foods:
- Canned food- vegetable, meats, fruit
- Dry cereal or granola
- Dried fruit
- Pasteurized milk
- Comfort/ stress food
Stater Brother Markets employee, Jonathan Ruiz, shared his experience of managing a store during this pandemic.
“A lot of canned goods such as vegetables, meats, tuna, and fruit have been selling at higher rates than normal, even top ramen has been sold out for a couple of weeks,” says Ruiz.
Due to the high numbers of panic buying, some essential items are becoming harder to find, so it is recommended to find food alternatives such as frozen foods that have a long shelf life.
The Guillen family has found it hard during this quarantine to keep their refrigerator stocked. The matriarch of the family, Emma Guillen, has not returned to work for weeks and has yet to receive a paycheck. Her family went from a two income household to a one income household. “Food shopping has been limited, it’s hard to get the fridge stocked, I have to limit my family of 6 to eat less a day and I can’t even go out and buy in bulk,” says Guillen.
Food that isn’t necessary to stock up on are the high calorie snacks for example chips and sugary juices, soda and alcoholic beverages . Although it’s not bad to have these items in your homes, there is no need to stock up on these items as there is no shortage. “It’s advice that nobody hoards food, there would be no shortages if people would shop on a once a week basis, we need to work together in this time of hardship,” says Ruiz.
Making food last can be a challenge when you are spending more time at home than eating out, especially for low income families whose kids only meals were hot school lunches and breakfast items. A resource families can use is going to their children’s school and see if they offer free lunches. Families can go to the Helping Hands Pantry, a food pantry in the San Bernardino area.
“I have even gone to my local food bank InterFaith community support to grab food for my family. I’m really grateful for services like these during this pandemic,” says Guillen
Food banks rely on volunteers to assist aiding those in need of of access to food. Anthony Sanchez, a volunteer at Helping Hands Pantry has been using this extra time to help people in need. “When California was forced to quarantine, I knew food banks would be hit hard so i decided to help out and put my free time into good use,” Sanchez says.
Helping Hands Pantry is located in San Bernardino on 1455 E 3rd Street and feeds more than 1000 people everyday. People can help by volunteering at their warehouse, garden, or their various assist programs. For more information, visit their website at helpinghandspantry.org/.