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Church food bank stocks in jeopardy after coronavirus panic buying

by Tola Mbakwe

Food banks across the country are having to think about how they'll operate as people stockpile due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Independent Food Aid Network said there has been a fall in donations as people panic buy items like beans, cereal and pasta.

Ruth Davis, co-ordinator at Ludlow foodbank which is based in Ludlow Baptist Church in Shropshire told Premier's News Hour she has been coming up with a contingency plan. 

"We're only a small town, we only have two supermarkets, but we have been in conversation with them and told them the things that we need. 

"I believe that Tesco at least is going to keep a stock so it makes sure that we can give to people that are in need. But whether that would happen in other places I really don't know."

On Friday, Ireland's health chief Paul Reid said hoarding was unnecessary. 

"There is absolutely no rationale to stockpiling whatsoever. It is not needed, it is dysfunctional and it is not where we are."

Davis encouraged Christians to continue their generosity to their local food banks. 

"I know the temptation is to hold it for yourself but at the end of the day, we're told to give and we will be given back pressed down and running over. So the more you give, the more God will give back to you."

Davis said another part of her future planning involves volunteers as many of the elderly volunteers are vulnerable to the coronavirus. 

"We have already offered the chance to step down at this time, although most of them have said 'no, no, I'm fine. I'm going to carry on.' 

"Hand sanitisers will be available for them to use and if they do decide they need to step down, we completely understand."

The food bank also has plans to deliver food to those who are in need but are forced to be in isolation. 

On Friday, the UK's chief scientific adviser said it is hoped the Government's approach to tackling coronavirus will create a "herd immunity" to the disease.

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