Local stores lend fridge space for people without power

One of the biggest headaches for people without power is saving all the food in the fridge and freezer.

Bashar Kassawa is the night manager of Heights Food Market in Ferndale.

When high winds knocked out power to hundreds of thousands homes and businesses Wednesday, Heights Food Market was prepared.

So Kassawa decided to do something to help those who lost electricity.

"I emptied a bunch of cooler space and freezer space, and I tried to get people to bring their stuff in ... I had empty boxes so I labeled it all for them with their names on it and kept it here until whenever they wanted to get it," he said.

Even a local BBQ joint is storing food in the market's back cooler so it doesn’t spoil.

"I grew up in Iraq and we were without power for months sometimes because I grew up there in the war, so I know what it's like to be without power," Kassawa said.

And without power, perishable food can go bad within hours.

Bethany Thayer is a registered dietician nutritionist with Henry Ford Health System.

"The reason that we cool our food is to stop growth of some of the bacteria. And it doesn't really stop it, it kind of slows it down. As it gets warmer, that bacteria -- the growth speeds up," she said.

Thayer says most perishable foods that arent kept at 40 degrees or cooler should be thrown out.

"There are probably a few foods that you can save, certainly your fruits and vegetables," she said, adding vinegar-based condiments may be OK, but meats will not be.

Meanwhile Kassawa says he still has plenty of room in his coolers.