AN ALLOA foodbank has witnessed a significant drop in donations with referrals spiking due to the ongoing pandemic.

For the first time since The Gate has been founded, volunteers are going to the cash and carry every single day to buy additional supplies.

These help make up the around 100 bags they deliver daily during the coronavirus crisis.

The service is "coping" with a challenging situation and thanked its volunteers as well as the wider community for making it possible.

Locals can support the charity's efforts in doorstep deliveries by leaving items such as cans, rice and long-life milk in designated shopping trolleys at supermarkets in the area or message The Gate for details on how donate money.

Donations to support the home starter pack project are also welcome with new quilt covers and duvet sets urgently needed.

Recently, volunteers at The Gate gave thanks to helpers at Masks for Clacks who donated 50 masks to add to the charity's stock of personal protective equipment.

The foodbank has seen a number of fresh faces come in to help since the lockdown began and measures are in place to safeguard everybody.

This has been a big boost as most of the core group of volunteers and staff, including centre manager Marie Brownhill, are self-isolating as they are at increased risk if they were to catch Covid-19 due to various conditions.

However, Marie is doing what she can to co-ordinate the effort from home, applying for funding, engaging with partners and managing social media while staying in touch with volunteers to make sure they are okay.

The additional volunteers have been "absolutely great" the centre manager said.

She added: "Our donations have gone down significantly. And for the first time ever since The Gate has been founded, we are having to go to the cash and carry every single day to buy food.

"Before, our monthly bill was about £500, no more, for fresh items and bits.

"But now we are spending thousands of pounds on food, last month we spentmore than £2,000 just on food."

Regular donations are down at the charity as much of it would come from church groups and schools, which are currently closed.

However, Marie said: "People are still being kind with cash donations and donations of food and all sorts."

Marie paid tribute to the hard working volunteers as well as the trustees at The Gate while highlighting Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface for providing "great support" throughout the pandemic.

She also wanted to thank Clackmannanshire Council for funding, providing vans and drivers twice a week as well as for deliveries of fruit and vegetables for food parcels.

Marie gave a special nod of appreciation to foodbank co-ordinator Adrienne Hilton for working around the clock as well as chair Evelyn Paterson for her support.

And added: "We'll get there and it's operating smoothly.

"It's just difficult, but we are coping.

"And we couldn't do it without the community – the community have been wonderful and the volunteers have been amazing."

For more on how to make a donation to The Gate, call 01259 218766 or email