Orkney Foodbank has seen a “phenomenal” response from local folk through increased financial and food donations since Coronavirus started impacting – and last week received a further contribution of goods from a Grampian-based charity involved in fighting hunger and tackling food waste.
A tonne (two full pallets) of non-perishable food was delivered to the Kirkwall charity thanks to FareShare and NorthLink Ferries.
Rhoda Walker, of the local Foodbank, said: “This is a very welcome move by FareShare, which was made possible with organisational support from Voluntary Action Orkney, Orkney Islands Council, NorthLink and funding from the Scottish Government.
“We know it’s a challenging time for everyone as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. The community spirit in Orkney never ceases to amaze us and the level of donations of food has risen significantly, as has the monetary donations which has reached several thousand, since the crisis has grown. Many more have also volunteered as a result.
“But as the donations have increased, unfortunately so has the number of people relying on the Foodbank as incomes have reduced or disappeared altogether. But we want to stress that we are here to help – do not go hungry.”
Orkney Foodbank was set up under the umbrella of the Trussell Trust in 2013 and is staffed entirely by volunteers.
“We would not be in existence without the amazing support from the people of Orkney who generously donate food, toiletries, cleaning products and other essential items - and we are continuously amazed by the level of donations we receive from local folks, both individuals and larger groups, too numerous to mention,” Rhoda said. “Now as we all face the challenges brought on by the coronavirus, I can only describe the additional help we are receiving as phenomenal.”
“Since we started, we have issued an amazing 61193.02 KGs of goods to help 4538 people – 1645 of them children - thanks to this generosity.”
Three FareShare donations were received during 2019.
Rhoda added: “Our purpose is to provide a parcel with three days of food to folk referred to us in a time of crisis. Clients referred to us can get three food parcels in a six-month period should they require it. Additional allocations are for the referrer and co-ordinator of the foodbank to agree.
“As well as our usual foodbank parcels, we also do Child Holiday Meals for those struggling to keep up with hungry children’s appetites whereby we can provide a box of non-perishable items to boost the store cupboard.
“We would urge those who are in need themselves, or know someone in need, to contact Citizens Advice, GPs, health visitors, social workers etc, so they can refer you to us as we don’t issue parcels without a referral being received. We can get food to all areas of Orkney – including the isles – so please don’t think that location affects folks from qualifying for support from us.”
During these challenging times, the Foodbank has moved to a delivery system.
“We can deliver the food parcel to a person’s door, knock or ring the doorbell and retreat to a safe distance. For those who prefer to collect the parcel from the Foodbank – this is left at the door for collection if we know they are coming.
“We have donation points for leaving food etc at Tesco and the three larger Co-ops, and donations can be left at the Foodbank on Junction Road between 12:00-14:00, Tuesdays and Fridays as long as people adhere to the social distancing rules. Or arrangements can be made by email or by phoning 07719 293378.”