Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus, Food Deserts and using Coronavirus time to Communicate

Knowing this country well and the habits of the people, I did my "stock up" shopping last week.  The coronavirus was starting to spread more.  I knew it would just be a matter of time before prosperous Americans would do what we do best in difficult times.  Buy up all the shit possible in stores!  Food, toiletries, guns, whatever we can get into our vehicles or carry in our hands.

While driving to an appointment today, as I passed by grocery stores the parking lots were full.  Inside the checkout lanes were full of people purchasing items they felt they could not live without over the next few weeks or more until the coronavirus stabilizes in these United States of America.

Many people who live in European American communities are lucky to have stores near them to run to.  But in most minority communities, especially black communities, there are food deserts.  Areas where major chain stores have left the black communities.  In leaving, they left a void for the community to go to for everyday groceries.  People, especially the elderly are left to their own means to get to and from the nearest grocery store that is miles away.

Maybe it is good that the conditions that lead to acquiring the coronavirus are not prevalent in minority communities.  Many of us do not have the financial means to travel to those locations overseas where others have contracted the virus.  Or minorities are not the typical attendees at those business conferences where people contracted the virus. That may be our saving grace. Wealth has its benefits and its curses.  Statistics on the number of people infected by race have not been released yet.  With the exception of black entertainers, athletes, and prominent business people, the numbers will be low.  Being poor and lacking wealth does have its benefits.

With that in mind, I pray the negative impact of not having large scale stores in minority communities will not be increased by the impacts of the coronavirus.  So thank you Krogers, and those other stores that left the black community over the past years.  We have not forgotten how you treated us.  Watching others hoard material good into grocery carts just is a reminder of your lack of concern for us.

When I did my advance shopping I stocked up on the normal things  I had purchased when stocking up last Fall for the winter months.  I understand that God is in control.  We think just because we are allowed to run to stores and purchase items that we are in control of our own destiny.   It is my hope that the time families are now forced to spend together by the coronavirus "semi quarantine" will result in more communication within those families.  Maybe even some discussion of the importance of God in your family's life?  Coronavirus is more than an illness.  It can also become an opportunity to call time out, pull back from your regular routine and act on those aspects of life that deserve more of our time.

Imagine what would happen if the next crisis results in loss of our access to our cellular phones, streaming TV devices and other technology?  We might really start talking to each other then.

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