Preston food banks struggle with Coronavirus panic buying

Some food banks are running out of basics because of coronavirus panic buying. (Image by Qian Gui)

A Preston food bank is starting to running out of storage of food and essentials as a result of panic-buying during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Salvation Army in Harrington Street has been receiving less donations since this week.

Donation trolleys are available in supermarkets including Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s, but these supermarkets are seeing a “quiet low level of food”, according to Claire Bowerman, the community centre co-ordinator of the Salvation Army.

Ms Bowerman continued: “People are keeping the food for themselves instead of donating the food.

“That would be the same thing for next few weeks at least.”

Volunteer David Bowerman holds lists that show what a Salvation Army food parcel contains. (Image by Qian Gui)

The Salvation Army are also struggling to purchase toilet rolls and tinned products facing the customers’ stockpiling and the supermarkets’ restrictions.

The Salvation Army provides people with 10,400 food parcels a year, supporting more than 500 families and about 280 single persons, but they might start to rationing the parcels if more restrictions are carried out, according to Ms Bowerman.

She continued: “The food bank is a safety net for people.

“It’s quiet worrying where we’re going to get our donations from. If we don’t get donations and we cannot go and buy the food, we’ll have to close.”

The Salvation Army is not the only food bank that is facing problems in supporting people in need, as several members of the Independent Food Aid Network have seen drops in donations and are also starting to ration.

Sabine Goodwin, the network’s coordinator, said: “The poverty of many people in this country has been ignored for too long and the systems that have been set up to support these people are very fragile and precarious. And they’re not ready to cope with this kind of situation.

“There are millions of people in this country who live with food insecurity, and we need to be thinking about how they are going to manage in this situation.”

Claire Bowerman and Sabine Goodwin talk about how coronavirus has affected food banks. (Audio by Qian Gui)