Pandemic Panic Shopping 101

The Kitchenista has tips for folks stocking up for the COVID-19 quarantine

Adrienne Gibbs
Published in
4 min readMar 13, 2020


A photo of two black women examining food at the grocery store.
Photo: Granger Wootz/Getty Images

First things first: Don’t panic.

When it comes to purchasing medicines and foods to have on hand during the time of coronavirus quarantines, there are still stores that have food and supplies. Now is the time to get smart and be strategic about what to buy, when to go, and what to stock.

Why is this? Now that President Donald Trump has agreed with the rest of us that the COVID-19 infection is, in fact, a significant problem and now that major sports tournaments, concerts, and school systems are closing in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, it’s our civic duty to stay inside. Some people have been stocking up for a month. They’re straight. If you know one, ask them for help. They can come up off a few rolls of toilet paper and a bottle of bleach, easy.

After that? You must think outside of the box. Skip Sam’s Club and try the hardware or office supply stores, which often still carry bleach. Dollar stores also carry name brand — and off-brand — foods. Hit up the corner shop in a quote-unquote undesirable (read: a place where White people won’t shop) neighborhood or an ethnic store; they still have supplies. Go super early in the morning, like at 6 a.m., or ask the cashier when they stock the shelves — probably Saturday morning — and be there before it opens.

While you plot out where to go, Angela Davis, also known as The Kitchenista, has tips on what to buy to make it all work:

  1. We’re not losing power, so fill up that fridge.
    Unlike other scenarios (disaster prep), we’re not losing power, so you can fill up the fridge and especially your freezer in addition to purchasing nonperishable pantry foods. Buy meat and veggies to freeze; a few cartons of eggs, which can stay refrigerated for several weeks; and extra bread for the freezer. Remember that even cheese and butter can be frozen.
  2. Load up on the grains and starch.
    For your pantry, make sure you have staples like pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, and cereal.
  3. Pile on the proteins (and no, you don’t need fresh meat).
    It’s important to have protein, so besides meat, try nut butters, canned tuna, or canned salmon. Also, beans…



Adrienne Gibbs
Editor for

Director, Creator Growth @Medium. Award-winning Writer. Editor. Mother. And excited to be featured on Beyoncé's year in review film.