I was chatting with a logistics company executive recently about the challenge of safely shipping goods in the COVID-19 era. That conversation reminded me of when the pandemic first descended on us.
I remember my first grocery trip during that time. It was unforgettable – although it feels like years ago at this point. If you went shopping in late March, you probably remember it, too.
The shelves were almost empty. No tuna, no chicken, no soup, no pasta. Canned vegetables? Nope. Mac and cheese? None. Frozen pizza? Not the brand we like ... not even the brands we don't like.
I was clearly a step – or three – behind in stocking up for the lockdown.
When I got home from the store, I tried to express to my husband how disorienting my shopping experience was.
“It's like being in Soviet Russia,” I told him. “It's like, sometimes you read about people from other countries coming to America and they go to a grocery store and just stare in awe at the full shelves. Well, for the first time, I can understand why they feel that way.”
At that time, I was overwhelmed with fear about what the future held. No one knew how long it would be until store shelves were reliably restocked.
But now, with months of perspective, I don't feel so afraid. I'm able, instead, to feel grateful. I'm grateful that I don't live in a country where scarcity is a constant.
And I wonder what I can do ... what we all can do ... to end food insecurity for everyone in the world. It's an ambitious goal, but if we can cut years off the timeline for creating a vaccine, maybe we can accomplish this, too.
I pray we can.