Operating Bath Foodbank during lockdown

Our Foodbank Manager Grainne Moher shares her personal perspective of operating during lockdown.

“Covid-19 has had a big impact on our Foodbank. We’ve had to close all four foodbank centres and we’re operating a delivery-only service from one site, which has allowed us to work in a safer way.

The mornings are a bit manic for me, making sure my boys are up and switched on to online school.  Once that’s underway it’s then putting delivery lists together for the day ahead which at times feels like a jigsaw puzzle – there’s always at least one order left over which doesn’t fit into any of the driver’s routes.  The drivers (British Gas) must think I don’t know Bath at all!

We have a great team of volunteers who get the orders ready to go out each day.  This involves packing up the parcels, taking into account any special requests or dietary needs. We always try to accommodate people’s needs as best we can, particularly those with fussy children (as a mum I know how stressful mealtimes can be!) We have also been able to include fresh produce, toiletries, baby items and pet food.  We’re about to take delivery of children’s books and activity packs so we’ll be including these too.

Sadly, though, most of our loyal and lovely volunteers have had to step down for now as they need to socially distance themselves, and we all miss the friendships we’ve made over the years.  We do try to keep in touch with the occasional update to let people know how we’re doing.  We’re also looking at some new ways to engage with our clients and hope that some of these volunteers can still help from home.

For the volunteers that are still helping it’s very much a team effort, and everyone has gone above and beyond to ensure we can continue helping those who need it.  Some have enlisted the help of family members so that they can work safely in teams, which has been a huge help.

I miss meeting our clients and having a chat over a cuppa. It’s such a big part of what we do, and I’ve met some amazing people over the years. We’re getting used to this new way of working but it’s so different and I pray for a time when it will be over, and we can see everyone again.

There’s so much uncertainty at the moment that we really just want to be able to help where we can, and wherever possible to take a bit of pressure off people who are struggling to provide food for themselves and their families”.