After a week of severe winter weather across the southern US, grocery stores in the Tuscaloosa area are experiencing food shortages, especially in the produce and meat sections.

“Personally, I come here almost every week, so I’m used to seeing more produce,” 19-year-old Molly Harold said while shopping at Walmart. “It’s concerning because people need access to fresh foods. Obviously, all of the processed food is here but, we need access to the healthier alternatives.”

Harold isn't the only one who's noticed bare shelves at area supermarkets -- several Tuscaloosa residents have taken to social media to express their concerns about the shortage.

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Sheana Sexton, for example, posted a "public service announcement" about her recent experience at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Hargrove Road on Facebook. Sexton’s post, which showed pictures of empty shelves and freezers in the store, has been shared more than 300 times.

Sexton said she was surprised at the amount of attention her post received from other Facebook users.

“I really just shared my post so that other friends and family would avoid going there if they were in need of anything," Sexton said. "I wasn’t expecting the post to be shared over 300 times."

In a statement to the Tuscaloosa Thread, Walmart said the stock shortages stem from the winter storms that occurred last week.

“As you would anticipate, demand going into the storms was high, and logistics after snowfall in areas not used to experiencing this type of event has been challenging," said Casey Staheli, a representative for Walmart. "We’re working hard to keep the shelves stocked, but things like road conditions can make that a challenge. We also want to make sure associates are coming to work only if it is safe to do so, which affects each store differently.”

Sexton said while this may be the case, she went to Walmart “a few weeks back, and they were low on lots of things, [for example] eggs, bacon, crescent rolls, [and] some cleaning supplies.”

Sexton said she believes weather-related issues may have exacerbated an existing shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walmart isn't the grocery store impacted by stock shortages -- one shopper at the Walmart on Skyland Boulevard said that she first tried to get her groceries at ALDI using the Instacart app.

“I ordered ALDI a couple of days ago on Instacart, and out of the 30 something items I ordered, they only brought me six,” the shopper said.

She said she ordered kale, sausages, bananas and other fresh produce through Instacart but did not receive them.

“We know access to fresh food and other necessary supplies during a major weather event is vital, and we’re working closely with our suppliers and teams to keep stores in the area stocked and open," an ALDI spokesperson said in a statement to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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