covid grocery

Grocery Shopping Impacted by Pandemic: How Spartans Are Adjusting to Cooking for Themselves

Alex Baker

Students living off campus often cook for themselves, too. But with the pandemic, grocery buying—and food preparing—have entered a new frontier.

It’s common knowledge that people are buying products in bulk. Popular products such as toilet paper, bread and hand sanitizer are low on stock. Customers’ buying tendencies have changed since the virus broke out, and people are securing items for themselves in case this predicament gets worse.

With meat products and eggs, some stores are limiting their customers to how much they can buy because they want a fair amount offered to everyone. Also, pasta has been a popular purchase and difficult to obtain because it is so simple to cook.

Timing one’s shopping trip now is essential and going in the morning is often best. Not only will more products be stocked, but fewer people will be there, which makes it a safer environment to shop in. Customers have been wearing gloves and face masks to reduce germs being spread, which will help in the long run as we try to defeat COVID-19 as a human society.

So how are MU students doing with shopping and cooking during the pandemic?

Jacob Martin, a senior biology-chemistry major, has adapted well to this unexpected situation. “I did not have a meal plan for my senior year at Manchester, and I always had to return home to make something,” Martin said. “I am comfortable in the kitchen, and nothing has really changed for me besides the fact that I cannot get some of the items that I wish I could get.” Martin returned home to Michigan instead of staying in his North Manchester home.

Grace Ondrla, junior exercise science major, decided to reside in her North Manchester home during this pandemic to enjoy the Manchester community. “My parents wanted me to quarantine in North Manchester for a couple of weeks since I went to Florida for spring break,” Ondrla said. “I do miss seeing them, but it has been nice that my close friends from school decided to stay in their Manchester homes as well.”

As for the shopping, Ondrla has been playing it safe while on her trips to New Market. “I wear gloves every time I go shopping now,” Ondrla said. “During a time like this, I take the rules seriously because I want to prevent things from getting worse.”

Her father, Jeff Ondrla, has coped well with what has been happening to grocery shopping. Mr. Ondrla goes to Owens store in Warsaw, where they have set hours for senior-citizens and their community. From 7-10 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, community members over 56 years old can shop freely without worrying about coming into contact with younger people who potentially may be carriers of the virus.

Online shopping is not as popular with students as physically entering the store themselves. While being in quarantine, there is not a whole lot anyone can do. Many Spartans look forward to the opportunity of leaving their houses.

Max Baker, a senior marketing major with a sales minor (and this journalist’s brother), visited his parents this past week and was ecstatic to leave his home. “I never thought I would be so happy to go shopping, but here I am,” said Baker with excitement. Since Baker does not do any of the cooking in his household, he was purchasing items for his parents to make.

Many have relied on cooking to sustain themselves during COVID-19. However, Baker has been struggling with this. “Typically, I try to eat at home, but that has not been going well for me as I get carryout from a restaurant for at least one meal a day,” he said. Back in his North Manchester home, he is not the most knowledgeable in the kitchen.

“Sandwiches and frozen pizza have been my go-to throughout this time,” Baker said. “I know I need to learn how to cook because I will be on my own soon.”