After the coronavirus pandemic ignited a wave of panic-buying and hoarding among grocery shoppers, many well-meaning grocery stores have imposed item limits for household staples.
Under these circumstances, parents of large families going about their usual grocery shopping are not only unable to get enough items for their families, but they’re reportedly being met with “a lack of understanding, distrust, and even direct aggression.”
According to KRFD, a German pro-family organization, some families have even asked to prove how many children they have, only to be met with disbelief.
“If a family has five children, they need 1 kilo of pasta and two cans of tomatoes for one meal,” said Elisabeth Müller, head of KRFD. “What for others is a purchase to stock up is a normal weekend shopping trip for families with several children.”
Rather than being scorned by stressed shop workers and fellow consumers, parents of large families “need solidarity, understanding and respect for the task of providing food and care,” Müller declared. “In the current situation, parents are under enormous pressure.”
While children in large families typically handle being out of school or daycare during the pandemic well enough, having several siblings to play with, parents are under “enormous psychological pressure,” Annika Kröller, another member of KRFD, said.
Kröller noted that parents “don’t have time to rest or think calmly, and in many families the corona crisis also triggers existential fears, because the savings account is rarely overflowing.”
“The period of the coronavirus should encourage us as a society to think about what is really important in life and what is important when everyday life is so radically questioned,” Müller said.
In an attempt to defuse grocery store tensions for parents of large families, KRFD created the “multi-child family card,” a sort of identification card on which all children belonging to the family are listed. KRFD has already rolled out the cards in Thuringia, where they have “proven to be very useful.”
“The card now serves as a family record of the persons living within the family and is intended to make it easier for families with many children to purchase basic food, necessities, and hygiene products for the coming weeks,” the card’s website explains.
Although the card is a private initiative, it is recognized by the German state of Thuringia, as well as many organizations and businesses.
Even Thuringia’s far-left Minister-President Bodo Ramelow praised the card. “The abundance of children is a blessing for our society, a statement that is actually self-evident, and yet it is not uncommon for everyday life to present a different picture,” he said last year when the card was first introduced in Thuringia.
Meanwhile, in America, stores are imposing limits that would leave large families either miserably under-supplied or forced to make more frequent shopping trips.
In California, some Trader Joe’s stores have imposed limits of two per item and a single shopping cart, a policy that would be nearly impossible to obey for many large families.
While the ideal approach to handling exponentially increased demand during a crisis is up for debate, one thing is for certain: families shouldn’t need special identification, and they shouldn’t be subject to interrogation when shopping to feed their children.
It is shocking that society would treat families, who make up the very cornerstone of civilization, in such a way.
We would all do well to keep a tight grip on our civility and humanity while we struggle through this situation. If we lose it, what will society look like when we come out on the other side?
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