Houstonians desperate for food and supplies rush to stores, collect rain water

For many residents across Houston, it’s been nearly four days without power, heat and now, water is scarce. People rushing out to the stores to replenish their supplies are met with long lines and low inventory. 

On day four of this historic winter storm, it’s a mad dash around Houston to find a grocery store not overly crowded, or with enough food on their shelves.

Some Houstonians feeling a little desperate without the bare necessities. 

"We actually haven’t had power and we don’t have gas so we haven’t had heat for days. The stores we went to kept closing down because the power kept going out," said Jennifer Williams. 

Christy Lara serve as the Director of Public Relations for Albertsons/Randalls. She says what’s available in the morning, is what’s there for the day. 

"We have fewer employees than we normal would have so customers might find that the things in the fresh department aren’t available such as deli, bakery, meat, those full service departments. We have product in the works. We’re working with our suppliers.  We’re working to get extra trucks and extra deliveries already staging those to get shipped to stores," Lara said. 

Lara added that the company is now working with their partners in other states to get additional inventory shipped to their Texas-area stores, to avoid any disturbances in the supply chain. 

"I know its tough to walk into the store today and it looks very different than how it normally would look, but there is a lot in the supply chain that is getting ready and getting staged that's getting ready to be sent to the stores over the next few days," Lara said. 

Shoppers drove in from all areas of town Wednesday, looking for cases of bottled water now in high demand, as the city’s water supply went from low pressure to non-existent overnight. 

"We have no water at all. I've had no baths in four days. I haven't washed my hair in four days. It's really a challenge, it really is. I think it was ill-prepared, to be honest with you. I think we had someting in place in 2011, we paid for grants. What happened to it?" said Kathi Clayton.   

Others who couldn’t find water, resorted to more medieval methods by collecting rainwater and melting ice in buckets and bowls outside. Some scraped ice off their trash cans and made sure every last drop from their gutters, don’t go to waste. 

Some even resorted to reallocating pool water to flush their toilets. 

Regardless of the neighborhood or zip code, residents across the Bayou City gravely affected by the storm are left wondering when the crises will end. 

"I mean I can deal with the cold, I can always get warm, but I need a toilet! I need water. I just can't believe we're going through this. Not this time. Pandemic is bad enough but to have this on top of everything?" Clayton said. 

Randall's said their store hours for Thursday, February 18th are scheduled for 8am-6pm.