A Thanet food parcel service has issued a fresh appeal for donations and, more urgently, face masks and has extended its provision to NHS staff struggling to obtain groceries.
The service, which is operated from St Austin & St St Gregory’s RC in Margate, has been adhering to strict cleanliness measures working with gloves and masks and regularly sanitising areas. But now more masks are needed or the venue will be forced to shut down.
Those collecting parcels are informed to adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep two meters apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There are signs and directions for customer safety and that of the people who volunteer to run the service.
Co-ordinator John Finnegan who has been at the helm for three years, says following an appeal four days ago they are again short of tinned spaghetti, meat and fish. They also require carrier bags, food bags and sugar sachets. “We have had a great response but we have run out again due to demand.
“We also now need face masks as our supplier is out of stock for two weeks,” he said.
Special packs for the NHS have been put aside in case workers are still struggling to obtain provisions at supermarkets – despite many opening earlier to accommodate their needs.
The number of people collecting food parcels has increased to more than a 100 a week over the past fortnight. Restrictions on bulk buying due to stockpiling has meant items usually ordered by the service has been restricted.
John added: “We are unsure if we will keep going if the Government enforces a lockdown. It depends if we are seen as an essential service. The last two weeks we have seen an increase in demand due to Coronavirus.”
Several volunteers have helped keep the service going and John says they have assisted when several long-term workers have been forced to remain at home. “They (volunteers) are a Godsend – however some are self-isolating due to their age and health,” he said.
Currently donations can be left at the church which is at 38 Charlotte Place, Margate on Mondays, Thursday and Fridays between 9.30am and 1pm. Or there is a car collection service available.
Contact John Finnegan on 07443890082 for further information.