FoodCloud, a Dublin-based social enterprise, doubled the amount of food it distributes in April and May of this year. In May, 181.76 tonnes of food was sent out from its warehouses, which was up by 95 tonnes on the same period last year.
"In comparison to pre-Covid levels we have actually more than doubled the amount of food that we've been redistributing in April and May," said chief executive Iseult Ward.
"For an organisation that in January was predicting maybe a 20pc increase throughout the year, this has been very significant."
FoodCloud distriubutes surplus foods from business to charities,
The donations received in April and May were distributed to more than 175 charities. Among those who benefited were families whose children normally get free school meals, the elderly, people with underlying health conditions and those who need to self-isolate.
"This is an unprecedented demand for food in Ireland. FoodCloud is in operation since 2013 and we've never seen as high demand in terms of services," said Ward. "We don't anticipate that this demand is going to go away because the economic outlook isn't good at the moment.
"People who were already vulnerable or in any way at risk, it's these kind of situations such as Covid which can actually push them over the edge."
In March, FoodCloud appealed for additional donations, which "led to quite a dramatic increase in the amount of food we were getting".
"BWG (the retail and wholesale group) have been providing us with support with things like interhub transport, from Dublin to Cork on a weekly basis," said Ward. "BWG/DHL provided contingency storage, as with the increase we wouldn't have the storage space ourselves for that volume of food.
"So we really relied on a lot of partners to jump in and help us in a very short time frame."
FoodCloud is now employing eight additional warehouse operatives at hubs in Dublin, Cork and Galway. It is working on doubling its national transport capacity with four new vans.
FoodCloud's existing network of charities have, on average, increased demand for food by 50pc and it has also established 32 new strategic partnerships nationally to support the Government-led Community Call initiative.
However, FoodCloud is starting to see a dip in donation offers. "Due to the ongoing and growing demand, FoodCloud urgently needs more companies to come on board and donate surplus food," said Ward.
Sunday Indo Business