Empty Grocery Store-Now What?

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What if suddenly we all have an empty grocery store in our city? When a disaster or unforeseen emergency strikes your neighborhood or city are we prepared for an empty grocery store? The shelves will be empty, or nearly empty if the disaster is bad enough. I know, I lived through one when I was 16 years old. I will never forget the images in my head of the people standing in line waiting for their one quart of milk and one pound of hamburger. That was our allotment for our family of seven for one week. I was staying with my aunt to help her with her new baby. It was an ice storm that shut down the highways for several days, almost two weeks as a matter of fact.

Today I am going to share my opinion on what I think my neighborhood empty grocery store will look like after an unforeseen emergency. Or at least the items I think that will go first after a disaster. Please be prepared with some of these items before you need them.

Have you seen an empty grocery store?

1. Water

We all know we cannot survive without water. Period. It’s a known fact. We need the following amounts:

  • 1 gallon per day per person to stay hydrated. If you live in a HOT area you might need more.
  • 4 gallons per day, per person, allows for personal hygiene, washing of dishes, etc.
  • 5 to12 gallons per day would be needed for a conventional toilet
  • 1/2 to two gallons for a pour flush latrine.

2. Milk-Cartons Or Powdered

I remember last winter getting emails from young mothers that were frantic because they did not have milk for their small children. As I recall, most of the people had really bad ice storms or very snow-packed roads. The city was asking people to stay home, if possible. Of course, people have jobs so that is not always possible. Grocery stores need employees to come to work, schools need the teachers, gas stations need the store attendants, etc. NO ONE is Exempt from going to work. It’s a fact of life. So, really it gets very complicated as far as driving to work in dangerous situations. You can buy instant milk just about everywhere, but let me caution you, please read the ingredients before buying. These will not be in the empty grocery stores. Thrive Instant Milk  This is my favorite milk to have in the pantry for emergencies:

instantmilk3. Canned Goods

Okay, I realize canned goods are a given. But let’s still talk about the ones that you can eat right out of the can if you have too. I have been known to eat ravioli out of the can. Of course, they are not healthy but they still taste great. Today I am talking about survival if you cannot go to any store for say two weeks. Look around your pantry and decide if you have food that everyone in your family will eat if you have empty grocery stores…..Do you have a good can opener?  Yep, that puppy is a necessity to open #10 cans. Save the water from the green beans. Hopefully, we will still have power or we will be eating cold soup. That’s okay, we will survive. Chili or canned beans are awesome! Add some spices and we are good to go.

4. Pasta

Pasta is great to stock in your pantry if you have power in your house OR a way to cook it. I did a post on how to Cook Noodles in a SunOven. If you have a butane stove you can boil the pasta. You could even use your barbecue with propane….hopefully you have propane stored. Friendly reminder here.

Read More of My Articles  You Need This Much Water To Store For Survival

5. Diapers/Baby Wipes/Baby Formula

Oh goodness, this one scares me because if we have empty grocery stores…diapers will go fast. Please stock up on some or better yet, get some cloth ones. It’s so funny because I raised my kids with cloth diapers. Now they are coming back. Some people cannot afford to buy disposable diapers and our landfills are over flowing with them. Please stock up on some cloth diapers and plastic pants. I promise you will be glad you did if you cannot buy disposable diapers anywhere when we have empty grocery stores. Just saying….

Now, if someone is breastfeeding/nursing her baby that family will be fine if they have water stored to keep the mother hydrated. So let’s stock up on baby formula just in case we become the caretaker of a baby. I do not have any babies I know within 10 miles of my home. But I still have a few bottles of baby formula I rotate just in case. It’s who I am.

6. Flashlights/Batteries

By now you probably know that my favorite flashlight is from Goal Zero. It has a crank, wall charger, and a small solar panel to charge it. I can guarantee you one of the first things to go when the empty grocery stores are open there will be zero flashlights. And zero batteries. Please, get a flashlight and batteries before you need them. P.S. Please put them where you can find them. You can make a Survival Bed Pouch with a pillowcase. Easy peasy.

7. Peanut Butter & Jam

I believe this is going to be one of the first items to fly off the shelves…that is if you can get to the store. Please store a few extra jars of peanut butter and jam. I love almond butter but let’s be realistic, it does not store well. If you can make bread we can live off of peanut butter and jam. Add some canned fruit and we are good to go.

8. Canned Meats

Tuna, roast beef, turkey and chicken are great to have in the pantry. They would be great in soups or to make casseroles. Of course they taste great in a sandwich. Keep thinking empty grocery stores…let’s be prepared before we need to be. Winter is right around the corner.

9. Beans-Bags or Canned

We can cook beans after soaking them. We can buy canned beans and eat them right out of the can if we need too. If we have not lost power we can use a pressure cooker to cook the beans in bags. If you have instant beans they are awesome. They cook in 20 minutes. I have been telling everyone I know to stock up on beans. Any kind of beans.

10. Bread

Oh baby, this is where I hope people have learned to make bread. Of course, if you do not eat bread it will not matter if we have an empty grocery store. If you have gluten issues you will want to stock up on those food items that are important to you. They will not be on the grocery shelves after an unforeseen emergency.

11. Toilet Paper/Paper Towels/Kleenex

This is ONE product we all need to stock up on. Yikes, I cannot even think about having zero toilet paper. I stock a lot, but if we have an empty grocery store…there will be zero toilet paper.

12. Feminine Hygiene Products

Oh goodness, this one is definitely a must to stock up on. This is where coupons come in handy. I hope this #12 encourages at least one family to get some to store…ASAP.

13. Baking Staples

Now this really is my favorite one. If we have the basics of baking staples we can cook or bake anything. And I mean anything. I am talking flour, sugar, honey, baking powder, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, etc. Spices galore. We can make anything….biscuits, bread, pancakes, rolls, muffins, etc. The list goes on and on. We can survive an empty grocery store if we plan ahead…I promise.

Read More of My Articles  Prepping Items You Should Buy Used

14. Camping Stoves/Charcoal/Starter/Matches/Mantels

It would be awesome if each neighbor had one source to cook food off the grid. I am talking about a camping stove, Kelly Kettle, Volcano Stove, SunOven, barbecue, etc. It would help if each family has a source of fuel. The camp stoves, charcoal, starter, matches and mantels will fly off the grocery store shelves. So stock up on some charcoal and lighter. Propane lasts indefinitely..so its my choice of fuel to store. But we need need different kinds of fuel. I want to diversify my fuel…charcoal, propane and butane. I cannot store wood, we have termites where I live. Not my house, but they are known for being in the area.

15. ICE/Coolers

Ice coolers and ice will not be on the empty grocery store shelves or store coolers. Ice and ice coolers will be the first thing to go if we lose power. People have medication to keep cool. Please get a good cooler before you need it. The ice and coolers will be gone once you go to your local empty grocery store. If you have a freezer please freeze a bottle of water filled with about two inches from the top to let the water expand. Keep that frozen for an unexpected power outage. You can keep you freezer closed but if you have two of those bottles you can store some perishables in the well insulated cooler in your house.

16. Common Sense

Now onto common sense…oh goodness, tempers can flare if someone is not prepared for the unexpected. We will have empty grocery stores. Some people think that the government is suppose to take care of them after a natural disaster. Nope,  this is not going to happen people. You and I, and only you and I, are responsible to take care of ourselves. I heard from The Red Cross at a local emergency prep expo that the Southern Baptists and Mormons were the first to arrive before FEMA even arrived in the state where there had been a disaster. They came with water, ice and food. See, this is why we should have a well insulated cooler ready before we need it. Plus you could go camping with it.

17. What If The Grocery Stores Are Flooded

This was sent to me by a reader by the name of Chris: “I have seen my local grocery stores empty. We had a huge flood a few years ago, and the stores were cut off and/or flooded. Our local Kroger had to completely empty the store, throwing everything away. We were cut off from neighboring towns. It was interesting to see human nature take over. Some people were very giving, while others were not. Our Easter dinner lacked a couple of our traditional dishes, but we were happy to have so much food. We were even able to share with others. Everyone should always be prepared for emergencies. (I now have a few chickens to help out with the egg situation.)”

Here is where it would be awesome if you have a neighborhood where people talk to each other about these important things. If we plan ahead we can see what this neighbor has or that neighbor has. I realize some people will not tell anyone what they have in their possession. I get that. I have heard people say “I will just go to so and so’s house.” I don’t think so people. We are in charge of our own families. The government cannot possibly take care of everyone. There will be an empty grocery store in your city. This is where we need to be responsible for our own family. If the disaster is bad enough it could be weeks before we can travel on a road. We need to ask ourselves…am I prepared for the unexpected?

Sun Oven

Survival Food Storage by Linda

12 thoughts on “Empty Grocery Store-Now What?

  • September 23, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Living on a farm an hour’s drive from a big grocery store, I always try to keep my pantry well stocked…I know my well-stocked freezers will go down, but that wood-burning cook stove in the basement will be a life saver!! I don’t like to drive in the snow and ice of winter, so I make sure I have enough food that, except for fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and eggs that we can get at the local little store, I don’t need to go to the grocery store for at least 5 months. People are so used to getting shipments daily to the local stores – if something disrupts that service for a few days, there will be empty shelves and we all need to be able to take care of ourselves! Great post – thank you!!

    • September 23, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Hi Susan, oh how I love your comment today! Plus I wish I had a wood burning stove. I love to hear that you can go at least 5 months without going to the store. Yes, we all need to take care of ourselves. I have chills reading your comment. We need more people in the world just like you! Blessings. Linda

  • September 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Hi Linda – as always thanks for these reminders.

    When a winter storm is coming you don’t want to be near a grocery store here, they’re always packed with people buying 5 loaves of bread and 3 gallons of milk – we joke about “milk sandwiches”. We keep a variety of items on hand, including baking supplies so I can easily make a loaf of bread if needed.

    Also this kind of hits home this week, there was a State Trooper here in PA who was shot & killed. Law enforcement has been on the trail & some roads are being blocked off, so you’ve literally had people going to the store & then not allowed back to their homes because a road block went up. Last night they showed a dad who went for milk & diapers, then wasn’t allowed home – can you image that one. There was also another person who said people don’t want to leave their houses to go to the store because of the fear of not getting back home. This is just another example of never knowing when something could happen & you can’t get out to shop.

    • September 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Andi, I just shared your comment on FaceBook. WOW, if this doesn’t make people get prepared….yikes! I was shaking when I put it on FB. Oh my gosh, the families and the State Troppers family. This is awful. We need to be prepared for situations like this before they happen. Thanks for sharing this with me. Blessings Linda

  • September 23, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I love it! I am forwarding this to my friends! Most of them don’t have enough food for their families to cover 2 days with out going to the store!!!

    • September 23, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Shannon, thank you for sharing with your friends. We all need to be reminded to be prepared for the unexpected. Blessings Linda

  • September 23, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Great post Linda! I hope everyone here has something to fall back on. I try to pick up items for long term survival each pay day. It takes time but it adds up. I’m lucky in one respect I have a spring feed creek 300 feet behind the house. During a drought season it had a nice flow of fresh cold water. I would say that 98% of my immediate neighbors don’t know it is here. Water will be so important in a down grid situation. My plans are to set a well with a hand pump a safe distance from the creek bed.

    • September 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Kenneth, oh wow a spring feed creek. Yay! Great idea about the hand pump! Linda

  • October 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Love the list! We have a good pantry supply this year! Really focused on filling the pantry with home canned goods! Instead of stocking up on TP we have a supply of family cloth for emergencies, we buy tp but never in bulk not a problem for us, I actually prefer the cloth

    • October 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Nicole, I am so glad to hear you have the family cloth! I love it! I am also really glad you are prepared for the unexpected! Linda

  • October 1, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I have seen my local grocery stores empty. We had a huge flood a few years ago, and the stores were cut off and/or flooded. Our local Kroger had to completely empty the store, throwing everything away. We were cut off from neighboring towns. It was interesting to see human nature take over. Some people were very giving, while others were not. Our Easter dinner lacked a couple of our traditional dishes, but we were happy to have so much food. We were even able to share with others. Everyone should always be prepared for emergencies. (I now have a few chickens to help out with the egg situation.) Thanks for your helpful information.

    • October 2, 2014 at 5:06 am

      Hi Chris, thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. I am going to put this on my FaceBook today. This is a really good paragraph for my readers to read. I am adding it to my post as well as FaceBook. Thank you so much! Linda P.S. I am so glad you were prepared for the unexpected. Blessings.


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