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'There's Plenty Of Food': Grocery Stores Say Empty Shelves Are Not Sign Of Food Shortage

HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Grocery store shelves across the Southland have been empty for days, but grocers say the problem is not a shortage of food, but rather shoppers who have been hoarding food and items.

And at the Ralphs and Food 4 Less distribution center in Paramount, it was all hands on deck.

"Since this started, we've had employees work 12-16 hour shifts, six or seven days and primarily voluntary," Vanessa Rosales, Food 4 Less director of corporate affairs, said.

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The center provides food to more than 300 stores throughout the area, and since March 3 employees have been working nonstop trying to catch up to the food demand — especially with items such as toilet paper, milk, eggs, rice and beans.

"There's plenty of food," Rosales said. "There will be plenty of food, and we just ask that everybody be mindful and respectful of others because some people aren't getting basic necessities that they really do need because somebody has filled their cart up with 20 gallons of milk."

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Rosales said that shoppers need to take a step back and really think about the needs of their neighbors.

With more than 120 trucks going out each day, the stores are doing all they can to ensure the shelves are stocked for shoppers to get everything they need.

"There's food here," Rosales said. "There's food coming into our warehouses and food exiting our warehouses. We just need to get it to the stores."

Ralphs and Food 4 Less said they were looking to hire roughly 300 seasonal employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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