Community gives support as Food Lion employees face shortages

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – Due to COVID-19, the Food Lion in Shepherdstown has been running low on certain essential goods.

Empty shelves in aisle 10 of Food Lion. Photo courtesy of Amanda Barber.
Empty shelves in aisle 10 of Food Lion. Photo courtesy of Amanda Barber.

In response, the Shepherdstown community has lent a hand to employees.

John Antolini, Food Lion lead stocker, said that customers have offered to make face masks and that Dominos has donated free pizzas.

“Most people understand that we’re living in crazy times,” Antolini said. “We get thanked almost every day.”

Some products that have been out of stock at Food Lion include toilet paper, paper towels and bread.

Shepherd University student Terrance Anderson said that since shopping during the pandemic, he has noticed there was no eggs or milk on the shelves.

“The shelves were pretty much empty,” Anderson said.

According to Antolini, customers have also bought out healthier items such as seltzer water and gluten-free foods.

Antolini said that before COVID-19, the automatic ordering system at Food Lion ordered about 2,000 items per day, but currently the system is trying to order about 6,000 products a day.

The warehouses are only able to keep up with about 20 percent (approximately 1,200 items) of the 6,000-product demand, according to Antolini.

“If the warehouses can’t keep up, then we have a tough time getting stuff out on the floor,” Antolini said.

Anderson said that going to the store now feels like a risk.

“Last time I went, it was packed with people,” Anderson said. “Seeing this, I felt completely unsafe.”

Given the circumstances, Antolini said that Food Lion is working hard to keep their employees healthy. Food Lion is providing employees with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, Antolini said.

Additionally, Food Lion is providing hand sanitizer for customers to use at the customer service desk in the front.

Antolini said that in an effort to combat shortages, Food Lion has implemented a “two-item-per-person” rule for certain products.

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