DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Facebook groups help locate essential items

Posted at 2:26 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 15:28:52-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — If you’re having a hard time finding essential items like cleaning supplies or toilet paper, you’re definitely not alone. But two local women are trying to make it easier through the power of social media.

Carlea Magee said she’s very organized about shopping, and her weekly trips usually only last about 30 minutes. But when the pandemic hit- that was a different story.

“I ended up having to take a 3-hour tour adventure around Omaha to find toilet paper, going to every single store," Magee said. "I came back home,and I was empty handed and irritated.”

Tiffany Davis found herself in a similar situation a few weeks into the pandemic.

“We went to about five different stores one day and could not find any ourselves, and I thought this is this was crazy," Davis said. "People really are out of toilet paper everywhere.”

Both women decided that instead of going to several stores and potentially increasing their exposure, they would use social media to find what they needed and help others.

Davis started the Facebook group, Things Instock Omaha/ Council Bluffs and surrounding areas, where people are able to share places they’ve spotted things like toilet paper, hand sanitzer and other essential items.

“One new mom, she couldn't find a certain formula that her baby had to have, and so she posted on there, ‘Hey, has anybody seen this certain formula?’ And then just within a couple of hours, somebody had posted that they seen it, and then she posted later ‘Hey, thank you. You know, it's been days I haven't been able to find this.’"

The group has almost 3,000 members, many of which also belong to Magee’s group called Omaha Toilet Paper. Along with shoppers, both groups have local owners and managers of stores sharing when things are back on the shelves.

“They’re doing a great job, because they’re the ones stocking it," Magee said. "Might as well give a little shout out, 'Hey we just got some in.'”

Along with the helpful tips, the groups also provide a little bit of humor in these dark times through memes and jokes.

“Just keep your spirits up, because we’re going to get through this," Magee said.