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Living in the age we do now, makes it look like Noah was on the right track with his ark. With the state of the world: between the pandemic, politics, the availability of jobs; it can be a scary and unsure place to be. The last thing you want to have to worry about is finding the bare minimum for your family; especially if you don’t have much.
So how can you find pantry staples during a pandemic?
One of the most important things to finding pantry supplies during a pandemic is to think outside of the box (stores). While most of society is still rushing to the box stores, such as your main grocery stores, Walmart, Sam’s Club, etc.; there are many untapped resources even during this pandemic.
Discount Food Stores
In our town, there is a gold mine tucked away in a lesser-known part of the city. This discount food store isn’t a food shelf/pantry but they take in food items that are “not sellable”; such as dented cans, etc.
They sell their food at a huge discount compared to the box stores. And have kept a really good supply during the pandemic because food is continually being “damaged” and is therefore unusable.
The great thing about these stores is that not only do they sell food, but they also sell:
- Name brands
- Organic food
- Beauty supplies
- Household Items
These items are not unusable, and most times, not even unsightly. They are just “not sellable” as defined by the box stores.
Here are some tips when shopping at a discount food store:
- Bring your own bags
- They often don’t have bags available to the public but will give you cardboard boxes if you don’t have bags available.
- Understand all the parts may not be there
- When I bought a shower caddy there that sits in the corner of your shower, I finally got in assembled only to realize I was missing a part. It still works fine, but it’s not as sturdy as if I had bought it on Amazon.
- Read the labels and signs
- Sometimes there are labels warning you that items are damaged in a certain way, or that they are having a sale with certain sticker colors at half off. Pay attention to their signs to make the most of what they have.
It’s a really great resource to tap into if you have one near you and they are not something you need to be ashamed to shop at!
Restaurant Supply Stores
Depending on your family size or food storage goals, restaurant supply stores can be a really great place to get bulk food for cheaper.
Not only do they sell bulk food but you can also find items like:
- Organization and Storage for Food
- Janitorial/Cleaning Supplies
- Cutlery & Flatware
- Cook & Bakeware
- & More
My personal favorite place to shop (even though we have local restaurant supply stores here is Webstauarant.com. An online restaurant supply store that is accessible to anyone, whether you own a restaurant or not.
This means that you, as a non-business owner, have access to bulk food at restaurant prices!
I have been able to purchase my basic supplies such as flour, sugar, etc from here. I also found well-made, but well-priced toilet paper when there was none left anywhere else. They are a great place if you’re looking for quality, but well-priced bulk supplies.
Here are a few things to remember when you’re shopping at a restaurant supply store:
- Shipping costs
- If you are buying 200 lbs of food remember it’s going to cost a pretty penny to ship 200lbs to your door. While the costs of the products are good there are always shipping costs.
- You need a way to store the goods
- If you’re going to buy 50 lbs of flour, then you need to make sure you have an airtight way to store it. Because if you leave it in the bag it comes in, you will get bugs, pests, and all sorts of issues. Make sure to have either buckets with lids or a whole lot of canning jars to keep your flour fresh.
Have something that you don’t need but could share? Can you trade with the neighbors for something you need and they have?
While this isn’t common practice much anymore, I am amazed that my parent’s neighborhood has continuously bartered for their entire lives. My parents still trade bacon for syrup and moonshine for blueberries.
The entire neighborhood has different resources and skills that are unique to the community and then they are all able to share and help one another when there is a want or need. It’s been a great thing to watch as I grow and maybe it’s something you could start in your community.
Your Own Home
If you have the ability to, you can be your own resource for pantry staples during a pandemic. If you have enough space you can start your own mini homestead.
At the beginning of the pandemic, one of my favorite YouTubers, Jamerill Stewart moved and started her own mini homestead with her family creating her own resources.
Here are some of the ways you can create your own resources:
- Grow a garden
- Can your own food
- Have chickens for meat and eggs
- Gave a cow, mini cow, or goats for milk and meat
- Have sheep for wool and meat
Like I said, while these are not all of the ways, they are definitely some ways to get started in creating your own resources.
There are so many ways that you can still get pantry staples for your family during a pandemic. Always remember to ask your community and the elders in your church for local ways you can help provide for your family.
Where have you found pantry staples during this pandemic? Share your ways down below!