A FOODBANK’S store cupboards have been replenished at a time of unprecedented demand thanks to quick-thinking college staff.

Darlington College donated a host of produce including a large selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, a case of eggs, fresh milk, yoghurts, boxes of crisps, cooked meats and, perhaps most important of all, more than 200 rolls of toilet paper to King’s Church Foodbank.

The Covid-19 crisis has prompted a huge increase in demand for the services of the foodbank, on Whessoe Road, Darlington, with the number of food parcels leaping from 500 a month to more than 650.

At the same time donations from drop-off points in supermarkets have plunged 40 per cent as the public strives to come to terms with the coronavirus crisis.

Darlington College’s head of estates James Butterfield mobilised his staff to come to the foodbank’s aid donating produce normally used for the college’s restaurant, café and catering department while the students are in lockdown and studying from home.

He said: “The college prides itself on being at the heart of the community and was delighted to respond at this time of unparalleled need. Even under normal conditions the foodbank does an exceptional job in helping the people of Darlington. Their services have never been in such high demand and we were only too pleased to help.”

Foodbank manager Caroline Todd said: “We were so thrilled with the college’s donation and the support we are receiving from the community at this challenging time.

“The supermarkets are settling down now but at the beginning of the pandemic the panic buying meant people struggled to get basic provisions. We see ourselves as the A&E of foodbanks as we accept ‘Anything and Everything’.

“This crisis has really united this kingdom and brought out the very best in people. We have received donations from supermarkets, cafes and businesses and are now able to share these contributions with other local foodbanks.

“Everyone, including the college, is just so full of compassion, which is amazing, and we are going to need this spirit long after the health crisis is over.”