Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Please be advised that Foodbank does not provide food directly to the public – we supply food and groceries to charities working in the community. If you’re looking for food for yourself or a family member, we recommend the Ask Izzy website where you can find details of charities near you that may be able to offer assistance.

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). The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

The situation is fluid, but below are some frequently asked questions to assist with your queries, noting that the Department of Health website has excellent resources and fact sheets available and should be seen as the definitive source of formal advice on this issue:

Q: Can coronavirus 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 practises 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.

Q: Will coronavirus affect access by charities to food and groceries from Foodbank?

A: As with the broader community, we have experienced increased 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, some state/territory Foodbanks are 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 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 I still volunteer at Foodbank during the current Covid-19 situation?

A: Absolutely. With people and organisations choosing to self-isolate, Foodbank may be at risk of a reduction in volunteer numbers. As we rely on volunteers to keep the wheels turning, this is a problem. The only reason why you would not volunteer with us is if you have been advised to self-quarantine by the Department of Health or have suspected symptoms of respiratory illness. The state/territory Foodbank you are volunteering with will have specific advice on this issue, so please follow their guidance / requirements re: personal health and safety.

Q: If I recently bought a little too much toilet paper, hand sanitiser, tissues, soap etc, can I donate these items to Foodbank?

A: We welcome all donations of useful food and grocery items. Please visit the donation page of the Foodbank in your state to find out arrangements for where and how to donate.

Q: Is Foodbank providing targeted or additional food relief to the elderly and other vulnerable groups in the community in light of COVID-19?

A: Foodbank provides food relief through a network of 2,400 charities across Australia, and through these charities, we are currently assisting 815,000 people a month. Our charity network has a range of clients, from women escaping domestic violence to vulnerable children to asylum-seekers to remote indigenous communities. COVID-19 is affecting every demographic group, and we need to ensure equity of access to food relief across the entire community. As such, we are not ‘prioritising’ support to any one particular charity or demographic group, particularly as we know that demand for food relief is continuing to outstrip supply, not helped by current shortages of key food and grocery items as a result of panic-buying.

For more information on Covid-19 go to:

Department of Health


World Health Organization