Foodbank shuts down collection service in Sid Valley amid coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 16:13 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:13 17 March 2020

Andie Milne, coordinator of the Sid Valley Foodbank. Picture: Philippa Davies

Andie Milne, coordinator of the Sid Valley Foodbank. Picture: Philippa Davies

Philippa Davies

The town’s foodbank has closed its collection service with immediate effect in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sid Valley Food Bank, which helps people and families suffering from food poverty, said safety and wellbeing of its volunteers and clients are its ‘primary concern’.

Now, a series of steps have been agreed to manage the situation as the country continues to battle against the illness, which as of yet has no vaccine.

The food bank has withdrawn its hospitality and closing collection service, and will now offer delivery only.

Members will conduct an in-depth stock-take of current food in order to plan ahead and streamline donation requests to essential items only on a weekly basis.

This action has been taken because of the likelihood of a reduction in food donations and shops’ stock levels and restrictions

Andie Milne, coordinator of the Sid Valley Food Bank, said: “If you would like to volunteer to help with either packing or distributing via deliveries please contact me and I will send you a volunteer application form – we are in the process of updating the website to enable on line applications.

“We also are aware that many supermarkets are restricting the purchasing of essential tinned items from the store but as yet not online shopping.

“At the present there is no dispensation for foodbank to purchase the large amount of items that we will undoubtedly need in the coming weeks.”

Ms Milne said extra volunteers to deliver food is ‘paramount’ to the bank.

She and members will develop a spreadsheet of volunteers who can be contacted for delivery or packing and a quick method for checking references by telephone.

She added: “A huge thank you to you all for the offers of support we are already receiving.”

Sidmouth Town Council has launched an online directory for residents who need help accessing food delivery services and other assistance while in isolation.

The council is also supporting a postcard scheme to help self-isolating neighbours.

The latest guidance from Public Health England and the NHS is also displayed on its website.

More information can be found at www.sidmouth.gov.uk

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