WASHINGTON — As I approached each of these individuals to interview them at my nearby Giant, standing the now-standard 6 feet apart while we talked, the reality of this pandemic seeped in for each one of us.
A few empty shelves of food, long lines not typical for a Friday at around 9 a.m., Giant associates hard at work and the quiet murmur about the coronavirus describe the typical climate these days at a central grocery store in the District of Columbia.
Giant associate Scholanda Queen, 51, from the Washington suburb of Temple Hills, Md., described these days as very hectic. She and her co-workers are focusing on accommodating all the customers.
“People get very antsy, especially about when the next shipment will come of food. I try to make them smile before they leave and reassure them to come back at a different time or call the number on the receipt and see if we have it in stock.” She believes in God and that “He will take this all away.”
“It boils down to pasta, bleach and prayer,” Sarah Keenan, 31, who is from the district, said when asked what she is doing to prepare for the coronavirus.
For her, prayer being part of her preparation for the coronavirus resonates from an experience she had the other day, when she hit a low point one evening. “The next morning during my prayer time, I felt that God really impressed on me the importance of having a routine.”
Sticking to this routine has made her feel the most herself these days.
Deering Rogers, 80, who is a resident of St. Mary’s Court, a residence for seniors in the District, came to the nearby Giant to stock up on things that he needs. He was fortunately able to get a ride from a friend to the store.
“Bus transportation has been hectic. I’m buying food to keep it in the freezer and not run out,” he told Catholic News Service.
He wakes up in the morning and thanks God he is alive and would tell others to do the same in these times. “I’ve been saying that prayer all my life, this is not new to me.”
Ana Franco-Guzman writes for Catholic News Service.