Rochdale Foodbank asks "please hold onto your donations"

Date published: 12 January 2021

Steve Field, the Chair of Trustees at Rochdale Foodbank, is asking for your support – by holding onto your donations for the time being.

Mr Field says that the foodbank is in a ‘happy and healthy’ position after generosity shown over the festive period, but it now has to look at the health and safety of its volunteers – many of whom are classed as vulnerable.

As a result, Mr Field is asking people to hang onto their donations for the moment, whilst the foodbank streamlines operations to reduce demand and risk to its volunteers.

The situation will be reviewed in a month’s time, and Mr Field will issue an update when appropriate.

In a statement, Mr Field said: “Thank you for all the donations of food we have received from you over the eight years we have been serving our clients in food poverty in the borough. Thank you in particular for the [almost] overwhelming amount of food we have received in the last five weeks, over the Christmas period. The loyalty and generosity of the people of Rochdale never fails to astonish us. 

“This might surprise you, but we are in the happy position to support our clients fully for the time being. Our finances are also in a healthy position, should we need them, to be able to buy quantities of any food we might become short of. We don’t expect to have to do that.

“From that very fortunate position, we ask you to understand that we must now look at the health and safety of our volunteers. We already operate as best we can in a Covid safe environment at both South Parade and at our warehouse in the Wheatsheaf Centre.

“However, our volunteers are almost entirely in the vulnerable age category and we feel we must protect them further, particularly those who are going to supermarkets, buildings and houses to collect donated food. 

“We will continue to manage both centres but in a more streamlined way, reducing the overall demand for and risk to all our volunteers. In that time period, we also have to manage our departure from the warehouse at the Wheatsheaf Centre.       

“What we ask of you, whether you are an individual, family, school, church, mosque or business, is to hold on to your donations for the present time. You still remain very important to our work. We will need your support again but for now we are well placed to manage. 

“We will review the situation in a month’s time when, hopefully the vaccination programme will be well established.  When the restrictions are eased, we will contact you again through the same ways we have shared this message and ask you to pick up again where you left off. Rest assured, we will collect whatever has already been donated in local shops and supermarkets and at Number One Riverside.

“By holding back on your donations now, even though that seems a strange thing to do, you will help us to continue to provide the service to our clients in need; the service you expect of us and have trusted us to deliver for more than eight years.

“Thank you for your co-operation in these very difficult of times for all of us.”

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