Increase in need for home deliveries for those self-isolating or ill
Brentford's local food bank charity could be forced to make “impossible decisions” over its vital community work as it faces a shortage of masks to protect its volunteers and clients from coronavirus.
The demand for deliveries from Hounslow FoodBox has hiked during the crisis – but volunteers just have a “handful” of face masks left for them to make the journeys protected.
The service based in Brentford is appealing for help in sourcing high-quality masks to ensure its delivery drivers and office-based staff can continue their jobs.
Cllr Guy Lambert, trustee of Hounslow FoodBox
Trustee Alex Cole told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it was difficult for the group to get access to such equipment, and has been using ‘N95’ masks also being used by NHS workers.
He said: “All food banks and vital services are facing an unprecedented challenge and in the future that could force us to make impossible decisions around prioritising the safety and health of those volunteering versus those looking for emergency food.
“What we really need at the moment is masks. We don’t have many left but volunteers are still going out there and putting themselves in somewhat at risk… We need to make sure we can continue doing the deliveries. If we don’t have the masks we don’t feel it is safe.
“We’ve got 800 pairs of gloves but a handful of masks.”
The food bank is currently in talks with a clothing company who are looking at producing face masks due to the nationwide shortage.
It is also continuing a pick-up service from its Brickfield Close headquarters, but has gone “contactless” with those referred taking home packages left at the door.
The rising demand for delivery, Mr Cole believes, is due to more people self-isolating or unable to travel due to looking after their children now schools have closed.
To get in touch for donations contact Philip Jones at email@example.com.
Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter
March 25, 2020