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Community / Foodbank ‘flooded’ with offers of help as more volunteers sign up

Local foodbank co-ordinator David Grieve. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

SHETLAND Foodbank has set up new teams of volunteers to cover a range of roles as more people offer to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes manning the foodbank on St Magnus Street in Lerwick and gathering donations, sorting through items and making up food parcels.

It comes after over £6,000 was raised for the foodbank thanks to an online ‘buskathon’ campaign which saw people perform through Facebook Live videos.

More than £500, meanwhile, has been raised by two children who challenged themselves to spend 12 hours inside a cardboard box.

Shetland Foodbank project manager David Grieve said clients can still use the foodbank during the coronavirus pandemic, but the configuration of the space has been altered.

“We have had to completely restructure the way the foodbank operates in order to create a safe, socially-distanced space from which to distribute food,” he said.

As previously reported, the foodbank has had to recruit new volunteers as usual staff have had to self-isolate.

However, many new volunteers have come forward help out.

Over recent weeks, the foodbank has seen a noticeable drop in the quantities of food being donated because people are not getting out to shop.

Instead the foodbank has had to buy food from local wholesalers and supermarkets and this would have significantly reduced its funds. However, many of its regular donors have instead turned to giving financial support.

Explaining about why he launched the buskathon fundraiser, Lerwick man Jack Sandison said: “I was looking for a way to help out and raise funds, as my partner’s mother volunteers at the Foodbank.

“A friend of mine from Edinburgh started hosting online gigs for Scottish musicians in lieu of lost income, so I contacted him about the technicalities and decided to do something similar for Shetland.”