Due to the nationwide lockdown measures taken by each state to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and the closing of businesses deemed "non-essential," and the fear from workers in businesses that are considered "essential," as well as schools across the nation being shuttered temporarily, the food industry is taking a massive hit and the shortages for tens of thousands of Americans have already begun.
Between people losing their jobs and not being able to afford grocery shopping, food plants closing, grocery store workers becoming ill and others scared to even go to work, along with farmers forced to dump harvest because the businesses that they sold to are closed for an indefinite amount of time, with others ending up closing permanent, we see this has led to "food lines," the type of which hasn't been seen for decades upon decades.
All that and so much more will be discussed below.
MEATS, FARMERS AND FOOD SHORTAGES..................
Smithfield extended the closure of its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant after initially saying it would idle temporarily for cleaning. The facility is one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, representing 4% to 5% of U.S. pork production, according to the company.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said on Saturday that 238 Smithfield employees had active cases of the new coronavirus, accounting for 55% of the state’s total. Noem and the mayor of Sioux Falls had recommended the company shut the plant, which has about 3,700 workers, for at least two weeks.
“It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running,” Smithfield Chief Executive Ken Sullivan said in a statement on Sunday. “These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers.”
Farmers are dumping 3.7 million gallons of milk daily and a single chicken processor can smash 750,000 eggs per week, reports Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy farm cooperative in the country.
The International Dairy Foods Association also estimates that farmers are currently dumping about 5 per cent of the milk supply in the U.S.
Many are also are being forced to bury fresh vegetables, or in some cases, donate them to organizations like Meals on Wheels.
Limited resources and money, however, are making it difficult to provide the donations.
Since grocery stores and other establishments, like Walmart, Costco and others are limiting the number of certain sought-after items, and some limiting the amount of people allowed in their stores at one time, we do note that some, I repeat some, restocking is finally able to happen, although that is only the items that the stores have in stock or were able to get more of delivered.
With that said, grocery stores being one of the "essential" businesses allowed to stay open across the country, have become ripe for spreading the coronavirus infection.
Next to health-care providers, no workforce has proved more essential during the novel coronavirus pandemic than the 3 million U.S. grocery store employees who restock shelves and freezers, fill online orders and keep checkout lines moving. Although the public health guidelines are clear - steer clear of others - these workers are putting in longer shifts and taking on bigger workloads. Many report being stressed and scared, especially as their colleagues fall ill to covid-19, the highly contagious disease responsible for more than 20,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.
Some liken their job to working in a war zone, knowing that the simple act of showing up to work could ultimately kill them. At least 41 supermarket employees have died - including a Trader Joe's worker in New York, a Safeway employee in Chicago, two Walmart associates near Chicago, and four Kroger employees in Michigan. Thousands more have tested positive for the virus.
The pandemic is also causing issues for the very people we are so dependent on to deliver food to the grocery stores, meaning truckers.
The challenges described by truckers include a number of basic needs they are finding a hard time fulfilling, such as finding rest stops and bathrooms, and in some cases even getting food while on the road. That doesn't even include the challenges of how truckers are being treated with those they are delivering to not wanting contact so forcing them to change their methods of delivery.
TENS OF THOUSANDS CANNOT AFFORD FOOD NOW......................
There is yet another side to this equation as well. With so many businesses being forced to shut down, the closing of multiple meat manufacturing plants, there are millions now out of work and unable to afford the food that is left and able to be restocked.
Those total numbers haven't been calculated yet, but the visuals and the numbers that are available, are ugly.
In San Antonio, Texas, they held a food distribution event, where more than 6,000 families lined up in their cars for hours at Traders Village. The food bank distributed one million pounds of food to those families in a single day.
Families in need waited hours to get their hands on fresh fruit, vegetables and other non-perishable goods that have become hard to find in traditional stores as panic-buying leaves shelves empty.
The sight of long rows of cars waiting outside food banks has become more frequent since the pandemic has made its impact on the United States, with similar scenes seen in Florida and Pennsylvania in the last two weeks.
(6,000 families lined up in their cars for hours at Traders Village in San Antonio)
(People standing by their cars as they waited in line for hours to get their hands on food)
In California, a woman that cannot afford rent and food for her six children after her husband lost his construction job stands in the rain in a line to pick up fresh food at a Los Angeles Regional Food Bank giveaway, along with people in a mile long line of cars, all just trying to get enough food as to not starve.
In Pennsylvania, hundreds of cars lined up for a food distribution event in Duquesne.
Two rows of cars stretched for miles all the way out to Route 837 in Duquesne. Police were out directing traffic.
The people inside those cars waited for hours so they could have enough food to get through another week of unknown. One of those people was Daniel Laughlin. He had been waiting in line since 9 a.m. The food drive started at noon.
The shocking statistics come as the need for emergency food aid has exploded in recent weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Nearly 100 per cent of food banks in the Feeding America network are serving more neighbors in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Yet nearly 60 per cent are facing reduced inventory levels amidst rising demand,” according to a survey by Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief and food rescue organization.
It is struggling to cope with calls for additional aid – which has exceeded the 37 million people reported to be facing hunger in America last year.
It added that, “since establishing the Covid-19 Response Fund on March 13, Feeding America has distributed $112.4million and over 94 million pounds to food banks throughout the network, helping provide nearly 79million meals to neighbors facing hunger.”
The point here is that we are watching a vicious cycle go round and round. Meat processors and farmers forced to either shut down or destroy their foods, while truckers face challenges getting what food is left to the stores. Businesses shutter their doors, putting people out of work, forcing them to depend on food banks. Food banks running out of food because meat processors and farmers are forced to either shut down or destroy their foods.
As I said, a vicious cycle that we see no end in sight for.
Granted, those of us that have been prepping for years aren't having to stand in those lines, yet, and aren't worried about whether they can feed themselves and their families this week, but it makes seeing what is happening to those that do, no less heartbreaking.
STILL IN STOCK.............
ANP has spent days hunting down products that are either still in stock or back in stock for delivery for this article's "still in stock' segment, focusing on meats, fruits and vegetables today, since paper products and protective gear does nothing if one is starving.
The items listed below are in stock and have delivery dates ranging from days to no longer than two weeks, so folks can order what they need to restock what they are using now.
There will be more closures and less meats and vegetables available as this coronavirus spread, but even after that, as some of these farmers and businesses will simply be unable to reopen for one reason or another.
Get what you can to replace what you are using now because it is unclear how long these products will be available.
When no more is available, the food riots will begin.
God bless and be safe everyone.
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