Please note: this was posted on 18th March 2020 and information/advice may change after this time. Please follow government guidance.
Amidst the concern surrounding the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, we know the question on so many of our minds is, what can I be doing to help?
Here at FareShare Sussex we are working hard to remain open and operational during this crisis, to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are still receiving a regular supply of food, and support those that have been affected most by this virus. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of our team of volunteers who are giving up their time to continue collecting and delivering surplus and donated food.
We hear from the charities we work with that they are expecting drastic increases in demand, with likely school closures and job insecurity meaning that money just won’t be there to make ends meet.
This means FareShare is needed more than ever, but we need your help.
Volunteer your time
Wow – we have been overwhelmed by the call-out to volunteers and have now had to temporarily pause recruitment while we induct as many of you who have already applied as we can. Thank you so much. Here is a link to where to look if you are interested in volunteering at another organisation.
Make a donation
FareShare Sussex relies on donations to keep our doors open. If you are unable to volunteer but would like to help, please consider making a donation. Setting up a regular donation of just £5 enables us to deliver enough food for 25 meals and prevents 10.5 kg of food from going to waste. The easiest way to donate is via JustGiving. Or for a one-off payment of £5 text GIVEFOOD to 70450. Thank you so much!
Keep donating food
You’ve all probably seen the food collection baskets in supermarkets and dotted around the community – your donations of non-perishable items are essential in ensuring our charity members have a regular supply of store-cupboard items alongside the surplus food we receive from the food industry. Since the outbreak, as people stock-pile for themselves, those who are reliant on our support are missing out. When you do your shopping, please consider buying an extra tin or two for your local food bank.
Please don’t stockpile food
We are currently being told that stockpiling is unnecessary and can be harmful. At the moment we have to be confident that the supply is there, if we all buy sensibly.
Help or find help
There are already several thriving community support groups broken down into local neighbourhoods. Find all the Brighton & Hove groups here, or if you are further afield, here is the national list of all mutual aid groups.
Know your rights
For those on zero-hour contracts, people on benefits, those who are self-employed, or people with young families to look after, there are specific difficulties you are facing. Check out the information on Citizens Advice who may be able to help. If you are struggling to make ends meet, the majority of food banks are still open. Find out more about referrals to local food banks here or for national locations see the Trussell Trust website.
Look after your mental health
The charity Mind have a fantastic resource on looking after your wellbeing, including tips on how to manage through self-isolation and what to do if you are struggling to cope with symptoms of anxiety and stress, as well as crucial advice around medications and support.
There is an awful lot of information and opinion circulating online, which can be overwhelming, confusing and potentially dangerous if it isn’t accurate. Please keep an eye on the government and NHS websites for official advice.
We understand this list is by no means exhaustive. There are some amazing things going on around the city and beyond to spread joy and keep spirits up during this unprecedented time. If you have any particular stories you would like to share, particularly related to food, please let us know.