AN OXFORDSHIRE food bank has announced its temporary closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Witney & West Oxfordshire Food Bank said it is no longer able to fulfil vouchers and hand out food parcels, but will try to find a way to re-open ‘as soon as possible’.

It will no longer accept or collect donations of food items, as there is no access to transport or facilities to store such items.

The food bank is now asking the Government to tackle the issue of food poverty directly.

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Witney town council leader Rosa Bolger said: “There is a problem nationally as supermarkets are bare, food bank volunteers are in a group that are more likely to be self-isolating and food banks are generally in locations that are now closed, like churches.

“We’ll look to support the Witney food bank as soon as they open again.

“At times like this people become even more vulnerable.

 “What has been great to see is organisations and people coming together in Witney.

“As we go through this crisis, it’s important to look at the positives.”

Oxford Mail: Rosa BolgerRosa Bolger

Oxfordshire county councillor Laura Price echoed Mrs Bolger’s sentiments, saying food banks nationally are closing temporarily.

She added: “The closure has come as a shock and a blow to people.

“Food banks have done a fantastic job for people who have needed help and volunteers have been feeding the hungry and needy for years and we need to be kind and grateful to them.

“We need to ensure that nobody goes hungry during this crisis.”

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Meanwhile, West Oxfordshire district councillor Merilyn Davies said that the closure could be ‘an opportunity to have smaller facilities across the district’.

“Behind the scenes I know they worked very hard to keep the food bank open,” she added.