The coronavirus pandemic and its effects have left voluntary food bank organization Toidupank, and its customers, facing shortages.
Dry foods such as pasta, rice, buckwheat, porridge and flour, as well as canned soup and foods, are in particularly short supply, according to Toidupank's Liina Päeske, and the organization also needs help with the provision of personal protective equipment.
Some of the most affected area coincide with the locations worst hit by the pandemic, including Saaremaa, Päeske said, noting in daily Postimees (link in Estonian) that: "Currently, Kuressaare, Võru, Jõhvi, Tartu, Valga, Rakvere need the most support, with Narva, Lääne County, and Pärnu," next on the list.
Many of the smaller Toidupank locations do not have large warehouses, meaning larger quantities have to pass through Tallinn, where a new additional building is being sought, and Tartu; the extra capacticy is likely to be needed at least until September, Toidupank says.
Last month, Toidupank had already had to cancel its spring food drive, planned for April, as the virus started to spread in Estonia.
At the same time as warehouses are being emptied, both the amount of food available from retail is dropping, as a result of the crisis, plus the amount of people in need is increasing – by an average of 15 percent per week, Päeske said.
If you wish to donate to Toidupank, you can do so via the "Ma armastan aidata" site here, or by phone – if you are a Telia, Elisa or Tele2 customer - on 9009005 (to donate €2) or 9009010 (to give €10), with each call requiring 10 seconds or more and not being charged for by the operator.
More information on Toidupank including their own donation account is here.
Donating food is also possible at some collection points, such as at the Kristiine Keskus in Tallinn, and other shopping centers where supermarkets and other key stores and businesses are still working. However, Toidupank CEO Piet Boerefijn told ERR News Thursday that donating via the e-platforms at e-coop and barbora (links in Estonian) is preferable, in addition to donating money, due to the risk of spreading the virus on packaging as well as the risk the donor has of contracting it.
Editor: Andrew Whyte