How Foodbank is responding to coronavirus COVID-19

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On 27 February 2020, our Prime Minister announced the activation of the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

As Australia’s largest hunger relief charity, Foodbank and our charity partners are entering unpredictable times and seeing an extraordinary increase in demand for emergency food relief.

The situation is fluid, but below are some frequently asked questions to assist with your queries:

Q: How is Foodbank NSW & ACT maintaining a safe work environment with coronavirus COVID-19?

A: We are committed to maintaining a safe environment for everyone who attends our Glendenning premises. We have updated our site policy effective immediately in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus COVID-19.
Please do NOT enter and you would need to leave this site if you answer “YES” to any of the following questions:

  1. Have you returned to Australia in the last 14 days?
  2. Have you had any close contact with:
    • someone with the coronavirus,
    • someone currently awaiting on a coronavirus test result, or
    • are you living with someone who has returned to Australia in the last 14 days?
      A close contact is typically someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours with a person that was infectious.
  3. Do you feel unwell or are experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath?


We will be asking everyone who visits our Glendenning premises, including employees, volunteers, agencies, contractors, truck drivers and visitors these three questions. If you visit our site and we notice you are unwell, we will ask you to leave immediately.

Everyone must:

  • Wash hands upon arrival and regularly during the day. Use sanitiser when available.
  • Cough or sneeze into tissue or elbow.
  • Keep minimum 1.5m apart (where practicable).


Government advice states that if you have developed symptoms, you must immediately isolate yourself and seek medical attention. Contact your doctor, or your local Emergency Department or health direct on 1800 022 222 and tell the doctor or health care professional where you have travelled and/or if you have any symptoms.

Q: Can I still volunteer at Foodbank NSW & ACT during the current coronavirus COVID-19 situation?

A: Yes. With people and organisations choosing to self-isolate, Foodbank has seen a drastic reduction in volunteer numbers. As we rely on volunteers to help sort, pack and distribute food and groceries, this is a problem. The only reason why you would not volunteer with us is if you answer yes to any of the above questions or have have been advised to self-quarantine by the Department of Health or have suspected symptoms of respiratory illness. You can register your interest to volunteer here 👉

Q: How can I help Foodbank during coronavirus COVID-19 crisis?

A: If you would like to help, the best way is by making a financial donation so we can source items for food relief that are in most demand. For every $1 donated we can provide $6 worth of food for people in need. Please donate here 👉

We are not accepting public food donations at this stage. We’re working with our partners in the food and grocery sector to ensure we have enough supplies to continue supporting our charity partners, and additional food relief to help isolated communities in the event of a quarantine period. If you are a company wanting to donate stock or have large donation please visit our food donation page to find out arrangements for where and how to donate.

If you do have extra food or groceries, please share them with your vulnerable friends and neighbours.

Q: How can I or a family member get help from Foodbank?

A: If you or a family need assistance please call us on (02) 9756 3099 or email us and we can connect you to a charity partner in your area.

Q: Will coronavirus Covid-19 affect access by charities to food and groceries from Foodbank NSW & ACT?

A: As with the broader community, we have experienced a significant increase in demand for key staple items, ranging from toilet paper and hand sanitiser to long-life products such as UHT milk, rice and canned products. To prevent this from affecting general supply where some charities could miss out completely, Foodbank is implementing limits on some products. It is important for charities to maintain business as usual so as not to cause unnecessary shortages.

Q: Will coronavirus Covid-19 affect charities ability to provide food relief?

A: We are monitoring the situation and should the ability of member charities to provide food relief be affected, we will work with them in any way we can to ensure continuity of service.

Q: Can coronavirus Covid-19 be transmitted through food?

A: According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), transmission through food is unlikely and there is no evidence of this occurring with coronavirus to date. Everyone should practice good hygiene and food handling practices as per usual:

  • wash hands regularly
  • cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  • avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing

As an added precaution, if you have suspected symptoms of respiratory illness, you should avoid preparing food for other people and seek medical attention.

For more information on COVID-19 go to:

Department of Health


World Health Organization

In the meantime, let’s all be mindful of our most vulnerable members of the community. Empty supermarket shelves impact us all – but it’s even harder on people already facing food insecurity. Please look after others, and take care of yourselves.

For further updates on what is happening keep an eye on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

For media enquiries please email

Page last updated: 25 March 2020