Doncaster foodbank tightens up on referrals as food stocks run low and appeals to stores for donations

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One of Doncaster’s main food banks has tightened up on referrals and is looking to raise stocks in case of any second coronavirus ‘spike’.

Mexborough Food Bank said people would no longer be able to self-refer themselves, with unprecedented demand having left its stocks of food low.

Sean Gibbons, director of the organisation Food Aware, which helps runs the foodbank, said it saw its busiest day on record on July 31, with 44 food parcels given out, mostly home delivered in Mexborough, Denaby, Conisbrough and Swinton.

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He said: “Our supplies are currently very low due to unprecedented demand and we are now having to apply much stricter conditions to eligibility for food parcels. Especially now that the Government’s shielding restrictions have ended from August 1.

Staff and volunteers at Mexborough Food Bank at Mexborough Family HubStaff and volunteers at Mexborough Food Bank at Mexborough Family Hub
Staff and volunteers at Mexborough Food Bank at Mexborough Family Hub

“We have a duty to ensure that food parcels are prioritised where they are most needed.

“We don’t want to judge how people spend their money and budget their finances. However, we must ensure that people are receiving the full support available and are being closely supported to budget better for food and other essentials as the challenging times continue.”

It means all referrals now have to come through Citizens Advice Doncaster Borough, St Leger Homes, Doncaster Council Communities South Area Team, Community First Credit Union, Doncaster Wellbeing, Mexborough Family Hub, Denaby and Conisbrough Family Hub, Creative Support - Doncaster, Doncaster College and University Centre, Doncaster Children's Services Trust or Aspire Drug and Alcohol Services.

The peak of 44 has reduced, he added.

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Food Aware, which has been distributing food across Doncaster, is now looking to boost supplies, in case there is a second spike of Covid 19 in the area over the winter, and with concerns over post lockdown job losses.

A number of food retailers currently donate food to the organisation, and Mr Gibbons is currently approaching organisations for assistance.

He said they were currently specifically targeting firms about bringing in ‘short dated food’ and food that may be past its ‘best before’ date but still suitable for eating.

He added: “There is a supply of food out there that we need to tap into. We can help with firms’ waste stream.”

Call 01709 717186 with food donations.

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