RENFREWSHIRE Foodbank has announced it will not be accepting donations during the rest of January as part of the effort to halt the rapid spread of coronavirus.

Senior manager Elizabeth Alexander said she is concerned for people’s safety as a new strain of Covid-19 causes a major surge in infection rates.

Although the charity has had stringent social distancing protocols in place at each of its bases, staff have agreed even these may not be enough to protect people, with the new variant thought to be much more transmissible.

Elizabeth has now asked people not to donate any items over the next few weeks, with bosses planning to review the situation towards the end of the month.

“We are now up against a new strain of the virus which is even more unpredictable than the first,” she said.

“Given the government is so concerned about its spread, we feel we should be reducing face-to-face contact as much as possible to protect donors, staff and volunteers and people who use the foodbank.

“We’ve decided not to take any donations during January because items are handled by so many people and we need to keep everyone safe.”

The foodbank, which has distribution centres in Johnstone, Paisley and Renfrew, has received more than 100 tonnes of donations since March last year.

And Elizabeth insists putting a temporary stop on donations is only possible because residents have been so generous throughout the pandemic.

The selflessness of people across Renfrewshire has meant the charity has enough stock to last the month but supporters are welcome to give cash donations online if they would still like to help the cause.

Elizabeth added: “The donations throughout this whole period have been tremendous.

“At the start of the pandemic, we had concerns about what impact panic buying might have on us but we didn’t actually find it a problem because Renfrewshire people were so generous and we had plenty of stuff.

“It really has been incredible and we cannot begin to thank people enough because, again, we have plenty of stuff at the moment to get us through a few weeks.

"That’s all through people’s generosity, even if they could only offer a couple of items.”

Anyone who would like to make a cash donation should visit