‘This is not free food!’: Over 250 people fight over discarded food at Austin H-E-B, constable says

On Sunday, tens of thousands of Austin residents were still without power

AUSTIN, Texas – A days-long power outage and a misleading social media post led to hundreds of people fighting over food at an H-E-B on the Southeast Side of Austin, according to Travis County Constable George Morales III.

The misleading social media post claimed there was “free food” inside a dumpster at the H-E-B, according to Morales. He said the post led to over 250 people arriving at the H-E-B and filling carts with the discarded food. The influx of people also caused a gridlock of area roadways.

“The food is rotten and spoiled, and is unsafe to eat,” Morales said. “Our Pct 4 deputies and APD responded to roads that were gridlocked because of this false post. The area was cleared by our office. If you know someone that got food, let them know it is not safe.”

As of Sunday, tens of thousands of families were still without power, according to Austin Energy’s outage map. This marks day five that many families have remained without electricity since last week’s ice storm.

H-E-B disposed of the perishable foods that it was not able to keep at a certain temperature due to the power outage. This also led to the grocer not being able to donate the items to food pantries and food banks, Morales said.

The ice storm brought on a multitude of outages across Austin and the state, many fallen trees and icy roadways and power lines. At last check, Austin Energy hasn’t said when the outages are expected to be resolved.

CPS Energy said Sunday it has sent crews and its Customer Response Unit to assist in the city’s power restoration efforts.

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