The UK has been in forced lockdown for almost three weeks now and everyone is having to learn to adapt to a new way of living. Exceptions include medical appointments and essential shopping. Many people are having to work from home and others are learning how to home school their children. Everyone is learning to adapt to a new way of living. There has been a new wave of elderly people getting online so that they can video call their families whilst in isolation. Business owners have either had to close completely or to adapt their way of doing business. Several restaurants and independent food shops near us have changed to home-delivery service almost overnight.
I am a volunteer for our local foodbank and after the Government announced the lockdown we debated whether we could continue to operate in a safe manner. With many people facing no income for potentially months on end we were already preparing for a significant increase in the number of clients and it felt wrong to even think of closing our doors. We had already introduced social distancing , protective gloves and hand sanitisers. After a lot of discussion we decided that we had to adapt our way of working in order to continue to operate whilst protecting our clients and volunteers. We decided that the only way we could do this was to convert to a delivery only service. Many of the agencies we work with are adopting ‘home working’ policies. This means that the vouchers our clients need to access a food parcel had to be adapted so that they could be used electronically. We have no physical presence at either of our premises since Monday.
We are almost at the end of our second week and so far our new policies seem to be working well. I have never been more proud of our team , who are all volunteers, and their ability to adapt to such a challenging situation. The food we supply mainly comes from community and individual donations. Our donations have fluctuated greatly in the past few weeks. This may be a coincidence but it could be due to the ‘panic buying’ seen at supermarkets across the country in the post month. We will have to wait and see how this plays out in the coming weeks and months. The communities in which we work have always been extremely supportive and we could not operate without their generosity.
All I ask is that if you see a foodbank box at your local supermarket , and you have the finances, please consider adding one item to the collection. We need our communities to come together now more than ever.