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Gina Loera, 61, rode her bike to a store near downtown San Antonio with her dog, Sandy, on horseback in a basket wearing sunglasses. “It’s a Texas institution,” she said.

Her husband, she says, works in an HEB warehouse, loading trucks. “They do a lot for the people here in Texas,” Ms. Loera said. “They are also good for their employees – good raises, good health care. They also have their own doctors. Their own clinics here in town.

Brock Sol said he was drawn to the store by the prices. “I’m homeless, so it’s hard to find cheap food,” said Sol, 43. “We have to buy things that are easy to open, a lot of pop tops. I don’t like going to convenience stores because they are so expensive. “

Still, resupplying after the storm was difficult.

“You had to get there early and come back again and again,” said Robert Diaz, 64, after leaving a store. “They continue to supply the store as soon as the trucks arrive. People took it all. ”

The shelves of many stores were light on stock, if not entirely empty, especially for water. In a store filled with shoppers in the Las Palmas neighborhood of San Antonio, notices warned people could only take two gallons of water. “The limits are temporary and necessary for you and your neighbors to find the products you need,” read a sign.

Lala Bayramov came to the store in a desperate search for a cake for her son’s first birthday. “Right now I’m looking for any cake,” she said as she entered the parking lot.

A few minutes later, she walked out with one. It was small and simple, with just a white frosting. But that was exactly what she needed.

David Montgomery reported from Austin, Rick rojas from Nashville, and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio of San Antonio. James dobbins contributed reporting from San Antonio.


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