Coronavirus: foodbank donations fall as shoppers stockpile

Foodbanks

Panic-buying is having a major impact on emergency food providers. 

11th March 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Foodbanks are reporting shortages of many essential items as a result of panic-buying amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Kirkcaldy foodbank has reported a 33% fall in donations, and has completely run out of UHT milk, a staple for children and expecting mothers.

Other foodbanks have reported similar declines, with many being forced to reduce the size of their parcels.

People are now being urged to consider the impact of stockpiling on those less fortunate than themselves.

Joyce Leggate, Kirkcaldy foodbank chair, said: “Our food parcels are essential for the health of many of the people we support. The food can be a lifeline.

“Please, if you are stockpiling, have a look and say: ‘Am I really going to use this?’ If not, is there someone who needs it more?”

According to the Independent Food Aid Network, which represents 189 foodbanks across the UK, more than 1,000 parcels are handed out each day in Scotland.

Network co-ordinator Sabine Goodwin said panic-buying is placing additional pressure on services which already struggle to meet demand.

“Emergency food aid providers across the UK are already stretched to the limit and the impact of the spread of coronavirus can only make matters worse,” she added.

“They cannot be expected to support yet more people needing help if schools are closed and those depending on insecure work are forced to rely on charity if taken ill or self-isolating.”

Ms Goodwin warned that the spread of the virus would “only deepen Britain’s food insecurity crisis” and said stockpiling demonstrated “a real lack of awareness as to how many millions of people are living with insecurity in the UK”.

Earlier this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged shoppers to “be sensible” and avoid panic-buying.  

“It’s often the panic buying that causes the shortages, not any underlying issues,” she said.

“My advice and appeal to people would be to apply common sense, behave as rationally as possible and be reassured that governments will continue to give well thought out advice based on the best scientific evidence that tell people what they have to do.”