With some residents left particularly vulnerable by the COVID-19 situation, Wiltshire Council is encouraging people to continue to donate to their local food banks if they can.
Some of the usual locations where people may have previously donated, such as schools and places of faith, are mainly unavailable at this time, but major supermarkets have food bank trolleys in their stores and people are encouraged to buy a couple of extra items to donate if they can.
Some food banks are reporting an upsurge in demand since COVD-19, with some of the likely reasons for this including some people being furloughed and the increased costs associated with whole families being at home for more time than normal.
It is advised that items donated are non-perishable or with a decent amount of time left on the ‘use-by’ date.
Among the items people can donate, and perhaps don’t think to, include shower gel, jam, tinned potatoes, instant mash potato, tinned ham, long-life milk, tinned sponge puddings, tinned custard and tinned fruit and vegetables.
The council has a local welfare assistance scheme for households who are struggling without funds, and have also agreed to help food banks re-stock where they are running out of goods.
Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “This is a really difficult time for people and if we’re able to, we’ve got to try and do our bit to support each other as much as possible.
“People may have donated food at places they can’t access at the moment, so I’d ask them next time they go to the supermarket and if their able to spend a little more, to please add an extra few items to their shopping list so they don’t forget and put them in the food bank trolleys,”
Liz Starling, Project Manager at Devizes and District Foodbank at the, said: “Although the demand has dropped during April, it is still significantly higher than 2019 and we’re expecting to see more people needing to use our food bank over the coming weeks as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
“Over 90% of the food distributed by food banks in The Trussell Trust network is donated by the public – that’s why food donations of non-perishable tinned and dried foods are absolutely vital to our ability to give everyone referred to us a balanced and nutritious three day supply of food.”
A list and more details of Wiltshire’s food banks can be found in the ‘community information’ section of Wiltshire Council’s COVID-19 page at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus.
People can also donate money to local charities such as the Wiltshire Community Foundation, they are providing support to food banks via their Wiltshire & Swindon Coronavirus Response Fund. More information on that can be found at https://www.wiltshirecf.org.uk/Coronavirus%20Fund/. Their website can be found at https://www.wiltshirecf.org.uk/
If anyone needs help due to the ongoing situation, Wiltshire Council’s Wellbeing Hub is open seven days a week, 8am-8pm Mon-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday- Sunday. It can be accessed by anyone in need by calling the helpline on: 0300 003 4576 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org