Coronavirus: Stamford and Bourne Foodbank, which are part of the Trussel Trust group, introduce new regulations
Foodbank volunteers are introducing new regulations as the coronavirus outbreak changes their way of working.
The Trussell Trust, which has more than 1,200 foodbank centres - including centres in Stamford, Bourne and Rutland - will only be giving out pre-packed food.
Customers used to be given the flexibility to chose what they wanted and have a friendly catch-up with staff.
However, the introduction of pre-packed food means people can go in and out of the shop quickly to limit the spread of the virus.
Louise Rose, operations manager at Stamford Foodbank, said: “It’s quite transactional.
“People come in quite fearful and anxious so we are trying to keep it cheerful.”
Maureen Cornell, operations manager at Bourne Foodbank, added: “It’s very alien to us here at the moment because now all the current regulation only allows a couple of clients at a time.
“We can’t offer them the drinks and chats we would normally have.”
Stamford Foodbank is encouraging its customers to speak to the relevant people to prevent their mental health from deteriorating.
The branch have also had many people call up who can afford food but can’t go out to buy it who they have referred to Evergreen Care Trust.
Maureen and Louise noted that there has been a ‘sharp increase’ in people requesting the charity’s services.
Maureen said: “The foodbank is here for people at real financial crisis - not for people who can’t find things on the shelves.”
The Trussell Trust is monitoring data which shows how many people are using the foodbanks.
Louise said: “Obviously the whole aim of a foodbank is we don’t want to be here all the time.
“We sign-post people to places that can help the underlying cause as to why they are here, and we sign government petitions.
“I very much hope there isn’t an increase and if there is the Government will need to look at it.”
Both services have also seen a great deal of support from the community including help and donations from businesses in the area.
Louise said: “The offers for volunteers have been huge.
“People want to give and they want to be useful.”
Maureen added: “We are really blessed people still donate food and money.”
Both foodbanks will remain open at their usual times.