Sunday, March 22, 2020

‘If coronavirus doesn’t get us, starvation will’: A growing number of Americans say they can’t afford to stock up on groceries

Patricia Brown, 69, who lives on a fixed income, stands in front of an empty milk cooler at the Aldi in Burlington, N.C., on Wednesday during the coronavirus pandemic. For those living on a fixed income, it can be difficult to afford to stock up on groceries for weeks at a time, especially when many of the cheaper items are out of stock. (Ben McKeown for The Washington Post)

By Abha Bhattarai

She was running out of food, but Patricia Brown had to wait.

She waited until the third Wednesday of the month, the day her Social Security check landed in the bank, before she got into her Nissan and drove to the local supermarket in search of a few basics: spaghetti, ground beef and distilled water for her sleep apnea machine.

But by the time she’d arrived, all of those items were gone. It had been over a week since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had urged Americans like her — older, with chronic health conditions — to “stock up” and stay home because of the deepening coronavirus crisis, which was upending every aspect of daily life and shutting down entire cities. The president even went on TV to urge people to avoid gatherings of more than 10.  Read more >>