Foodbank preparing to handle expected surge in demand due to Coronavirus
Cambridge City Foodbank is expecting a surge in demand over the next few months due to people on low incomes or zero-hours contracts being laid off or having no paid work. Our intention is to support all those facing hunger due to financial need even during these difficult times. To do this, the foodbank is being reorganised to enable maximum food delivery and safe handling procedures with a reduced volunteer force.
We are facing significant risks from reductions in food donations and from loss of volunteers who need to step down and self-isolate. Currently we have sufficient food to keep operating but this will depend on the response of the public in donating more food as we go forward. We are calling on the public to donate food in the supermarket collection bins around the city. Also, we may need people who have lower risk of serious illness to volunteer and help us maintain the service. We will likely have openings in all areas including warehouse, van driving and food distribution.
To enable increased efficiency, we will close four distribution centres. Effective March 23rd, four foodbank centres, in Waterbeach, Trumpington and Chesterton will be closed leaving four in operation – three in Cambridge and one in Cambourne. Visitors will still need to be referred by a professional agency but the centres will focus on providing the food quickly and with minimum physical contact for everyone’s safety. We will also increase our logistics support to ensure enough food is available since, at times, the reduced number of centres may be very busy.
We are unable to assist those who are short of food due to isolation but financially secure. There are other community groups stepping up to help such cases.