‘A marathon rather than a sprint’: Maida Vale foodbank worried coronavirus stockpiling is reducing donations

PUBLISHED: 10:57 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:10 17 March 2020

North Paddington Foodbank is facing shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Owen Sheppard

North Paddington Foodbank is facing shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Owen Sheppard


The North Paddington Foodbank is worried that people’s coronavirus stockpiling could be the reason why it has seen a sudden shortage of donations.

James Quayle, 30, North Paddington Foodbank manager. Picture:  James QuayleJames Quayle, 30, North Paddington Foodbank manager. Picture: James Quayle

Stories of people panic buying toilet roll and canned food have appeared regularly across the world’s news and social media platforms since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

James Quayle, 30, who manages the independently-run food bank in Elgin Avenue said: “It’s difficult to understand why there’s been a shortage of donations, but it’s possibly to do with people stockpiling.

“People are looking out for themselves, and I think a lot of the information going out has caused a panic.

“I don’t want to tell anyone they’re doing anything wrong, but when people are worried about themselves they donate less.”

Mr Quayle, whose food bank provides packages of food and toiletries to more than 100 households a week, said his ability to bulk-buy supplies has also been hampered.

With experts predicting that coronavirus could be with us for months to come, the North Paddington Foodbank is preparing for “a marathon rather than a sprint”.

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To help them through this difficult time, the charity is asking for consistent but small cash donations rather than one-off big donations, or of food supplies.

“If someone gives us £2 a month that would be preferable to someone giving us £50 as a one-off. We need to be in control of our own supply chain rather than relying on donations that fluctuate and are less reliable,” Mr Quayle added.

They have not had to turn anyone away, but he worries about what might happen to people who need the food bank’s help whilst also having to self-isolate.

“Someone who needs to self-isolate may not be able to come get the food they need for their family. So we’re anticipating needing to do more home deliveries, which will also be more expensive for us.”

Last year, Mr Quayle said about 250 people were using the food bank a week as demand had doubled since 2017, including from single mothers and young men.

He said this was partly spurred on by the long waits some people face when claiming Universal Credit for the first time.

To donate to the North Paddington Foodbank, visit its website:

For PHE advice on coronavirus, its symptoms and how to self-isolate, go to

For live updates on coronavirus across north London, visit our blog or Facebook group.

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