Volunteers at Derry's food bank yesterday said their stocks are being 'depleted' at a rate never experienced before.
The situation is being linked to a sharp increase in demand from people impacted by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
As a result of the increase in demand, Foyle Foodbank has appealed for new donations.
However, the charity has also appealed for only people in real need to take food from them.
“At this time of crisis the board of Foyle Foodbank wishes to make two appeals to the public as our food stocks are being depleted at a rate far in excess of anything we have experienced before,” said a Foyle Foodbank spokesperson.
“This is undoubtedly due to the seriousness of the current situation created by the Coved-19 virus but as this is only the start of the crisis it is imperative that we take a responsible, longer term view.
“Firstly, please continue to support us at our collection stations in Sainsburys, Meadowbank and Tesco, Strand Road where the great people of Derry/Londonderry have been so generous in the past.
“Almost 90% of the food we distribute comes from donations made by shoppers in these stores.
“Secondly, please only use our service if you are in genuine need. Foyle Foodbank exists to supply food to those who do not have the money to buy food and are in a financial crisis situation resulting in food poverty for themselves and their family members.”
The spokesperson said they understand that the loss of people's jobs and income had led to an increase in demand from the foodbank.
“Our volunteers are making a tremendous effort in a very demanding, challenging and stressful situation.
“Please respect them and understand they are doing their outmost to identify, and meet the demands of clients who genuinely need food.
“We have always had strong management diligence and controls in place to guard against the abuse of the food stocks so generously donated to us.
“However, our voucher system and walk-in systems and the caring attitude of our staff can be abused by opportunists, particularly when our normal controls are under pressure.
“We want to guard against that as best we can in order to protect our stock levels and make sure our food gets to those who genuinely need it.
“Therefore we earnestly appeal to people not to abuse the generosity of the people of the North West who donate our food, or indeed the ethos of the Food Bank, 'feed the hungry'.
“If you have the financial means to buy food you should do just that; if you have ready access to food you are not in food crisis at this time.”
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