Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Frequently Asked Questions

How to get help and give help during the Covid-19 crisis

This page is being updated continuously. Latest update – 20/8/20

We are very small team so please look for the answer to your question here before emailing or calling us.

Getting Help

Is Hackney Foodbank still open?

Hackney Foodbank is open and provided five foodbank sessions per week throughout lockdown.

Have there been changes to your services?


Whilst services will continue at our established centres, to minimise risk to our volunteers and clients, we have temporarily changed to an “at-the-door” service.

To help make this new approach run as smoothly as possible, we ask clients to:

– queue up outside of the premises instead of coming inside
– keep a distance of 2 metres between each other
– respect the numbering system
– leave promptly once the food parcels have been handed over

The parcels are pre-packed parcels and there will be no opportunity to request exchanges.

We thank you for your understanding and co-operation in difficult times.


Where can I get a foodbank referral during lockdown?

For people in financial crisis you should be able to access a foodbank voucher via the following organisations:

Citizens Advice are able to be contacted remotely and issue foodbank vouchers remotely.  You’ll be able to talk to a Citizens’ Advice agent confidentially about your circumstances and if needed they’ll issue you with a food bank voucher. To contact them –

Call 0808 2082138 (freephone).   Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.


Text ‘Help’ to 07860041410


Email to [email protected]

– Job Centre Plus – they can issue you with a letter of referral to our foodbank

– Housing Associations – if you live in a housing association residence ask them if they are registered with us to issue a foodbank voucher

What other services are available to help during lock-down?

 A list of other services that we know are still operating during lock-down can be found here: ADDITIONAL HELP DURING LOCKDOWN

Do you deliver food parcels?

We are unable to deliver parcels as we need to focus on maintaining our core services.

However, you can arrange for someone else to collect on your behalf.  Anyone collecting for you will need to take a note signed by yourself and some picture ID along to the foodbank session.

Giving Help

Do you need food donations?

Yes, we are reliant on food donations and the demand for our services has increased sharply this year.

A list of the food we most urgently need and locations around Hackney where they can be donated can be found here: Donate food

To minimise social contact, please include a note with your name and email with your donation.

Are you still accepting donations?

Yes.  We are still accepting donations at the locations listed here: Donate food

To maintain social distancing, if possible only one person should make the donation and, if you are donating direct to our warehouse, please include your name and email on a note in the donation so that we do not have to complete paperwork whilst you are in the building.

Can you accept fresh/opened food donations?

No. We cannot accept opened donations of any kind, whether it is food, nappies, toiletries or sanitary wear.

We don’t have the facilities to store and distribute fresh, chilled or frozen food. This includes fresh milk, eggs, fresh bread or pastries.  If the standard shelf life of a product at room temperature is less than four weeks, please do not donate the items. We will need to throw them away which would be a terrible waste.

Various homeless charities and community kitchens are staying open to help those who don’t have access to shelter or kitchen facilities. If you have surplus fresh stock, please try contacting one of them to see if they can use the food.

Do you accept sweet and savoury treats/non-essential items?

Yes. We do give out treats (sweets, crisps etc.) and non-essential food items (stock cubes, mustard, etc.) when they are donated to us. Our clients appreciate them as a nice addition to their nutritionally balanced food parcel.

But, if you are buying donations specifically for us, please focus on staple foods, particularly our most needed items, listed here: Donate food

Do you need extra volunteers during the lockdown?

For our latest volunteering roles, please see: VOLUNTEER NOW