Volunteer-staffed food bank initiative Toidupank has seen more donations from restaurants than in the past, but fewer from stores, leading to fears of shortages in the ongoing coronavirus emergency situation.
Toidupank is handing out food packages to about 10 people per hour, compared with a couple of hundred pre-crisis, and the selection of food has changed, reflecting the uptick in donations from eateries and fall in those from supermarkets and other food stores, according to a report on ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera".
"We have 15 food banks, but 10 of these say their warehouses are already empty. This is a big problem - we will soon be short of food," Piet Boerefijn, CEO of Toidupank, told "Aktuaalne kaamera".
Restaurant kitchens are one answer. One owner of a small restaurant has lost two thirds of their customers, according to the report, with the remainder often ordering via courier (from Friday this will be the only way to eat restaurant food in any case-ed.).
The owner has found a new outlet, making soup and selling it for a few euros or even giving it away free.
"For those people who can't come to a restaurant – meaning retirees – we have started offering them soup cheaply. But food couriers don't transport such cheap food; the minimum order must be at least seven euros," said Fleur Sprenk, owner of the Dereku Burger restaurant in Tallinn.
"As of today, I made the decision to offer soup free, where a person can bring their own container. We are also giving one free cup of coffee to our nurses, doctors, police, firefighters or those in need, again if they bring their own cup. Retirees still have families. Come and take up this opportunity," she went on.
Piet Boerefijn said that restaurant kitchens could also be used, for example, to make soup for food bank customers.
"This is a great idea. In fact, we are already talking to the Tallinn City Government and the Ministry of Social Affairs. And if this crisis goes even deeper, where many elderly people are alone, in quarantine, and cannot come out, maybe it would be possible to distribute the soup that way," he went on.
Toidupank is also looking for volunteers to help courier soup to recipients, and has opened a bank account for donors.
Their site is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte