'Pingdemic' leads to rising demand and donation shortage at South Shields food bank

The shelves are empty at Key2Life food bank on South Tyneside, and volunteers say it's down to the 'pingdemic'. At a time when families are struggling in the pandemic, contact tracing has pushed many to a critical point.

Jo Benham Brown, from the charity, says the large numbers of people currently in isolation has led to "an increase in demand" they "weren't ready for".

41,000 people in the North East were alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app last week, telling them to self-isolate.

Volunteer, Josey Dixon, whose family got into financial difficulty when they had to self-isolate themselves, says she knows what it's like to be on the other side.

On top of the rising demand, the food bank has seen decline in contributions. 

The shortage of food on supermarket shelves due to staff shortages has made many people more reluctant to give items away to charities like this one. 

The Government has put some schemes into place to help alleviate the problem in terms of the supermarkets, distributors and manufacturers. According to plans, staff working in certain sectors will do tests instead of isolating so workforces aren't as tight.

Key2Life has also struggled with volunteers self-isolating, and should see some respite if the Government presses ahead with rule changes next month. 

By 16 August, it is hoped that all adults who have had both doses of the Covid vaccination wouldn't need to self isolate unless they test positive or have symptoms.