Stevenage foodbank continues to support people during coronavirus pandemic but supplies are dwindling

Stevenage Community Foodbank has seen an increase in demand and a reduction in donations during the

Stevenage Community Foodbank has seen an increase in demand and a reduction in donations during the coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Archant

The Stevenage and Knebworth Community Foodbank is continuing to support people who find themselves in sudden financial crisis, but said demand is likely to outstrip supply as people struggle to cope during the coronavirus outbreak.

In a bid to observe the government’s social distancing guidelines, the foodbank’s distribution centre which usually operates on Fridays has closed until further notice. Instead, volunteers are delivering essential supplies directly to the doorsteps of those deemed to be most in need as a result of financial hardship.

One volunteer said: “The recent surge in demand has had a significant impact on our food stock. Donations have inevitably diminished as all of our donation points in churches and community centres have had to close down.

“Volunteers are delivering to clients to make sure that they stay at home.

Every care is being taken to adhere to safety - our operation is contactless and all food donated is quarantined for 72 hours, at least. Volunteers are required to wash their hands, then wear gloves, and all bags are new. Volunteers also adhere to distancing rules at all times.”

John Mead, chairman of the Stevenage and Knebworth Community Foodbank, added: “The safety of our volunteers and our clients is paramount. We are having to concentrate on those families and individuals who are isolated and who are suffering from food poverty.

“It is likely also that the numbers will increase as groups such as the self-employed wait for the promised payments.”

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He said demand is eventually likely to outstrip the foodbank’s capacity to supply and deliver. “Our resources are finite, but we will do everything we can to help during and beyond the crisis,” John said.

If anyone wishes to make a donation, and is able to spare some food - particularly tinned meals, tinned vegetables and UHT milk - you can give Stevenage Football Club a call on 01438 222 222 and the club will arrange for your donation to be collected from your home address. Donations will subsequently be shared out between the Stevenage and Knebworth Community Foodbank and the Vineyard Church Foodshed in Stevenage, which also provides food to people in need.