The difference between the food boxes being sold by Doncaster Council and the ones given out by foodbank

Doncaster Council has clarified it does not profit from selling food boxes at up to £20 each aimed at people who are isolating at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 4:56 pm
Updated Monday, 6th April 2020, 2:36 pm

It comes after a complaint was lodged alleging the boxes were filled with donated food meant for a foodbank.

Council officials have moved to dismiss the allegation and said emergency food boxes are ‘charged at cost’ with no profit and no delivery charge.

It’s understood DMBC has used Covid-19 relief money from central government to buy the food and sell the items in a box for people who initially can’t reach the shops.

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Doncaster Council are sending out emergency £20 food boxes at no extra cost

The box is filled with essentials such as bread, tinned goods and some fruit and vegetables and is meant for a go-between until people can make other arrangements.

Coun Sean Gibbons, who runs Food AWARE food bank in Mexborough said there is a difference between the service he provides and what the council more generally is doing.

“The council has bought goods and then they are sold in boxes. Where we step in at Food AWARE is for people who are on low incomes and have used our service before,” he said.

“We give out food through Food AWARE that has gone past the best before date but not the expiry date. The food boxes the community hub is providing is all in date and is not at the best before date.

“Any surplus items will then go to organisations like Food AWARE for us to distribute.

“I’ve seen a picture going round of what someone is claiming to be a £20 box but it’s definitely not the items I’ve seen going into one of these boxes.”

Karen Johnson, assistant director of localities at DMBC, said: “We are offering people emergency food packs at different prices and in exceptional circumstances at no charge.

“They are not a form of online shopping and will not be a long term solution but as an interim measure until alternative arrangements can be put in place like online shopping from the supermarket, family or friends, community groups and voluntary networks.

“The packs contain emergency basic items that are charged at cost – no profit is made from these and there is no delivery charge.

“If you have close friends or family who are not self-isolating that you trust and are in a position to buy shopping or order shopping online on your behalf then this is what you should do.

“Anyone who orders an emergency food parcel who doesn’t need to or has other means of shopping could be denying someone who is actually in need of that service. Where there is a need, we can arrange for the emergency food parcel to be delivered within 24 hours.”