Shoppers come to each other's aid during winter storm fallout

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Grocery stores and gas stations are experiencing long lines as people without power or water are trying to get essentials like water and a warm meal to eat.

There's now a push to get more water supply in stores as people could be without for a few more days, or remain under a water boil notice.

Both Kroger and H-E-B told ABC13 some of their stores are still impacted by power outages H-E-B has temporarily reduced its store hours and will return to normal when weather conditions improve.

Kroger announcing it will be sending 200,000 pallets of water to stores in Houston and surrounding areas in the coming days to help the community as it continues to battle power outages and boil water notices.

Natalia Palmarini grabbed what she could during a trip to Kroger in southwest Houston. She describes what it has been like at her home for the past couple days, without power or water, while also hosting family from out of state.

"Freezing. It's been super cold," Palmarini said. "My family is actually down here from New York City and they said they should have stayed up there because it's warmer and they would have still had power and water. ... We're just making do with what we have."

Some gas stations are also feeling the impact of the widespread power outages. Some locations are even running out of regular unleaded fuel.

A representative with FuelUp said three of its eight family-owned convenience stores are currently open 24-hours and are well stocked on fuel, food, batteries and water.

Shanika O'Neil, who is currently without power or water, waited in line at a Valero off of Bissonnet Street for an hour, along with other people who're in the same situation.

"Around here there are power outages, people are almost fighting for gas," O'Neil said. "There's no gas. This is our only hope right here, so we're waiting and it looks like they're running out soon."

At the same Valero location, Jamar Gray saw the guy at the next pump who needed some help.

"He had an issue with his card," Gray said. "It wasn't going through the machine and it was because he had swiped it twice already, so I just him he could Zelle me the money and I will pay for the gas for him, which, you know, I did."

The other customer gave Gray the cash he had with him and called Gray a 'good Samaritan.' Gray responded stating all he wants is to see people pay it forward when they are able to.

Lisa Helfman, public affairs director for H-E-B Houston, sent the following statement to ABC13 Wednesday morning:
"H-E-B is prepared to address any issues that our partners and communities are facing. While we are experiencing power and water issues just like our customers, we are doing everything we can to feed Texans as safely and efficiently as possible. With limited water, our stores are presented with additional challenges. We are doing our best to get product into the stores and on the shelves, and product availability is on a store-by-store basis. Stores will remain open with modified hours, as they are able. However, store hours could be adjusted according to local situations at any time. Please check H-E-B Newsroom for updates."

A representative with Kroger sent the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:
"As Houston and surrounding areas are impacted by the continuing cold weather and water boil notice, we are working diligently to transport additional water supplies to all Kroger locations.

We have more than 200,000 pallets of water making its way to stores today and over the coming days.

We are also working closely with hospitals and food banks, along with city representatives to ensure that essential organizations have access to bottled water.

Many Kroger stores are unfortunately still being affected by the widespread power outages. We have communicated our request for continuous power to the local energy providers, in order to be able to provide food and water to our local communities during this time of great need.

Customers can visit to see the current opening hours for their local store."

FuelUp also announced an opportunity for a Houston family to win a gift card:

"FuelUP wants to give away a $500 gift to one Houston family in need that has suffered effects of the Winter Storm. Check social media at @fueluphtx to enter. The recipient will be randomly selected on Friday at 12pm on Instagram.

3 out of 8 locations are currently open 24 hours/day at:

249 Shell @ 15450 Hwy 249, Houston, TX 77086

Southwest Freeway Shell @ 7402 Fondren, Houston, TX 77074

Bellaire Shell @ 11831 Bellaire Blvd, Houston TX 77072

All are well-stocked with water, snacks, food, batteries, and fuel."
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