What does a city look like during the corona outbreak? Photographer Annelien Nijland is documenting the daily reality of one-and-a-half metre life. Part 4: Ondiep food bank.

Photo by Annelien Nijland

Turn up at your allotted time, get your bag filled and take a quick look at the extras. Efficiency is the key word at the food bank in the working-class district Ondiep these days. There’s no time for reading labels or having a chat. It’s a case of keep moving, don’t congregate and leave ASAP, in the words of coordinator Jan Zwarts. And the participants (as visitors to the food bank are known) are sticking to the rules. He hears the odd moan every now and then, but he just moans back in true Ondiep style.

Photo by Annelien Nijland

Until recently, food parcels were prepared for 120 families every Saturday, but it’s now 133, says Zwarts. Most of the new participants are self-employed people who have lost their income due to the corona crisis. His team still manages to collect enough food and drink every Saturday. In the first week of the lockdown, they drove around madly trying to get hold of superfluous supplies from restaurants. Then there was Wesley Sneijder’s campaign. The former professional footballer used to live in Ondiep himself, and had consignments of fruit and vegetables delivered to the food bank from a catering wholesaler.

Photo by Annelien Nijland

Various Ondiep residents are running initiatives to collect food within the community too. The Ondiep locals can be a strange lot, says Zwarts, but their hearts are in the right place. Loud-mouthed one minute, and offering you a cuppa the next.

There’s still a good vibe at the food bank, despite everyone’s concerns for the future. Zwarts has sent the vulnerable volunteers home and as a precaution, he holds a thermometer to the rest of the team’s foreheads before they cross the threshold. He held it against his coffee cup this morning. It turned dark red and everyone panicked. We all need a good laugh.