Demand for food banks has ‘sky rocketed’ due to the pandemic

A network of foodbanks has almost tripled in number due to rising demands since the coronavirus outbreak.

The S6 on Gilpin Street is Sheffield’s busiest food bank, feeding hundreds of individuals and families from seven locations.

It is part of a nationwide network of food banks, providing three days of nutritionally balanced emergency food and supplies to local people in crisis.

Chris Hardy, 49, food bank manger said that pre-Covid, the organisation was running four sites but is now running 11.

Not only do the food banks provide food and essentials, but they also act as a support for anyone using their services by talking through other issues with them, as well as their need for food.

He said: “The demand has sky-rocketed.

“It is not only about the food, our main concern is for people’s health and wellbeing. We talk through other issues.

“The initial need is hunger but helping to alleviate stress and angst is the biggest thing.”

He said that people who were already really struggling before the pandemic and are now in extreme need. There are also many who were not struggling before the pandemic but are now in need as a result of it.

Supermarket donations are one of the main ways that food banks normally receive donations, but the recent stockpiling has made this difficult.

Food banks have had to adapt the way they obtain food and are now relying more on money donations instead of direct food donations, allowing them to buy produce and essentials in bulk online.

Due to coronavirus risks, the majority of those who volunteered pre-pandemic have struggled to continue helping throughout.

Mr Hardy said: “Those aged 60 plus used to have all the free time, but now they have to isolate due to the risks. We are now reliant on the student population which has been brilliant.”

The food banks are supported by the Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

To donate  click here.

Written by Eleanor Brooker

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