Is Food The Answer
Food banks hand out emergency parcels to meet an immediate need: the thousands of people across the country who would not have anything to eat that day otherwise.
But many food banks agree: food poverty cant be separated from poverty, and food handouts are not the answer to the UKs poverty problem. They want the government to strengthen the benefits system and improve low pay across the country to make sure people can afford food in the first place.
Sabine Goodwin, coordinator for IFAN, told The Big Issue: The buck cannot stop at the doors of food banks.
Some could be forced into the unthinkable position of not even being able to offer reduced parcels to people unable to afford the bare essentials, she added.
This is never going to be resolved by food, Goodwin said.
Food banks are also receiving fewer donations from the public compared to recent months, Goodwin added, and are operating with fewer and fewer volunteers. Those remaining are exhausted.
People are going back to work. That moment of Blitz spirit has passed, she said. Some food banks might be alright now but the system is so fragile, when the expected surge in demand comes they wont be prepared.
This impossible scenario cannot be imposed on charitable food aid providers when the solution is so clear, she added
St Vincent De Paul Society
First established in 1965 and today offering a variety of services to the local community, St. Vincent de Paul Society provides hot meals, shelter and other amenities to meet the basic needs of citizens in Kingston that dont have access to them. At the head of operations, executive director Judy Fyfe took on the role 4 years ago and has over 25 years working with non-profit organisations, giving back to the community in every way possible. The main aims of the Society are to help out both families and individuals in a tactful way, to reflect their compassion for the fellow human and support the community of Kingston.
Some of the services provided by the St. Vincent de Paul Society include but are not limited to Coffee Break , the Loretta Hospitality & Meal Program , and Emergency Groceries .
What Items Do Food Banks Need Most
Food banks mostly need long-life products that have extended use-by dates or non-perishables such as tinned vegetables and fish, biscuits, and sugar for example.
Tinned foods are often the first thing people think to donate however, other store cupboard essentials like stock cubes, condiments and spices, and jarred sauces are also welcome.
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Do Food Banks Charge For Food
Food banks are designed to help people in the community who may be struggling to pay for food. Schools, churches and community centres often set up collections for food banks or donation schemes and so do big supermarkets and charities, collecting essential items for people who cant afford them.
People who need support are referred to food banks by doctors, social workers or Citizens Advice and receive a voucher they can exchange for three days worth of emergency food at a local food bank. Before being referred they will be asked about their needs, their income and how many people they are supporting so advisers know if they should be referred for enough food to feed a family.
Not all food banks require a voucher but most do only help people who have been referred. The idea that lots of people go to food banks for free groceries is a myth many users report shame and stigma around needing food aid and most people only seek a referral after having no income for at least a month, according to Turn2us.
A voucher is exchanged for an emergency food parcel typically containing at least three days worth of food. If someone needs to use a food bank, they will normally need to seek another referral.
When they go to collect their food they will often be offered a cup of tea and a chat to see if there is any other help they may need. Food banks exist to meet the immediate need for food but many volunteers try to connect people in need with other support services.
Local Food Banks: Food Banks Near Me And How To Get A Food Bank Referral
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Local food banks offer help to approximately 14 million people in the UK. And with the current cost of living crisis and the recent increase in food and drink prices, food banks are being used more often.
According to the latest stats from The Food Foundation CPI data suggests that food and drink retail prices have risen by 5.9% in the last year up to March 2022. Why are food prices going up? we hear you ask, well according to Goodto’s personal finance expert, Harriet Meyer “increasing labour, energy, and transportation costs are behind the majority of increases.”
Food banks are designed to offer emergency support to people during a crisis. As well as relieving the initial pressure by providing essential food items in the short term, food and baby banks can give additional support so people don’t need to come back to the bank again. But as each food bank in the UK serves different areas, each bank has different needs and requirements.
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How To Get Food From A Food Bank
The easiest way to get food from a food bank is to , where an adviser will be able to issue you with a voucher to get an emergency food parcel from your local food bank.
- England or Wales, call 0808 208 2138.
- Northern Ireland, call 0800 915 4604.
- Scotland, search for your local Citizens Advice centre using your postcode.
All lines are open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, but are closed on public holidays.
On the other end of the line, the trained advisor will ask you about your circumstances, income, and needs. They’ll also ask if it’s just you that needs the emergency parcel or if you’ve got other people living in your household who are also in need.
While you can be referred to a food bank for lots of different reasons, it can be difficult to get a voucher unless you’re facing extreme circumstances. According to The Trussell Trust, the primary referrals to food banks in 2018-2019 were due to income not covering the cost of essentials, changes to a person’s benefits, or delays in receiving their benefits.
Imagine A Mississauga Where No One Goes Hungry
The Mississauga Food Bank is the central food bank in Mississauga. We distribute food through a network of over 50 agencies including local food banks, pantries, meal and snack programs, and other emergency food programs.
Through our network, we provide food for 5 million healthy meals every year.
Our mission is to end hunger in Mississauga by providing and promoting access to healthy and appropriate food for people in need.
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What Do Food Banks Need At Christmas
Festive treats are appreciated as food donations at food banks during the Christmas holidays particularly Christmas pudding, as it often comes with a long-life use by date. The Trussell Trust recommends non-alcoholic puddings.
Chocolate coins and Christmas dinner non-perishables such as tinned pies, vegetables, condiments, and gravy are all appreciated this time of year. Festive treats for those who can’t afford them at this time of year are welcome.
Do Food Banks Need Toiletries
When it comes to non-food items you can donate to a food bank, this can include deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shaving gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hand wipes, sanitary towels and tampons.
Many also accept household items such as laundry powder or liquids and washing up liquid, as well as baby supplies like nappies, baby wipes and baby food.
It is worth remembering that luxury items many of us take for granted are out of the question for people struggling to put food on the table. Stick to the lists put together by food banks to ensure you are helping combat hunger, but some services have bonus tables where treats are given out especially in the run-up to Christmas if you decide to donate something special alongside the essentials.
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If You Need To Use The Food Bank Again
If you needed a referral to use the food bank, you’ll need to get another one before you go back.
If you’ve been told your food bank has a limit on the number of times you can visit, it’s still worth asking if you really need the food. If you’re in this situation, talk to an adviser.
The adviser will ask you some questions about why you still need to use the food bank. They’ll refer you if they agree it’s the best way to help you. Even if they can’t refer you they’ll give you advice on debt or problems with benefits if you need it.
How To Get Help From A Food Bank
Whatever additional help you need from a food bank, whether that’s support applying for benefits, housing help, or debt advice, the best way to find it is to contact the food bank directly. Visit The Trussell Trust’s website to find your local food bank.
You can also use The Trussell Trust’s Grants Search function on their website to find out whether there are any governmental grants you might be entitled to. Similarly, there is another function on the site that helps you find out whether you’re entitled to any benefits .
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Where Can I Donate To A Food Bank
Its easy to donate to a food bank and most communities will have a food bank in one form or another.
The Trussell Trust is the UKs biggest network of food banks. The organisation supports more than 1,400 across the country and has a map on its website where you can find the one thats nearest to you, making it easy to donate directly by simply delivering the items you want to give.
Meanwhile, the Independent Food Aid Network is a group of nearly 930 grassroots food banks supporting communities across the UK. You can find your local IFAN venue using this interactive map or by getting in touch with email@example.com for more information on how to donate.
And online tools like Bankuet and Foodbank App can also be used to find your local food bank as well as discovering what resources they most urgently need.
Most supermarket chains have a food bank collection box in their bigger stores making it easy to donate while doing your weekly shop.
If you cant collect and donate items, most food banks happily accept cash contributions. Services like the Trussell Trust, IFAN and other local food banks can be donated to online, either as a one-off or on a recurring basis.
Donations dont have to be huge. It can just mean buying a few extra items in your weekly shop or donating cash to help food banks buy the items they know locals really need.
What Is A Food Bank And How Do They Work
Food banks provide free, nutritionally balanced, tinned, and dried food to those who need it. This might include people who have been hit by an unexpected financial crisis, such as redundancy , unexpected bills, or the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Care professionals, such as social workers, school staff, and health visitors, identify those in need of help and give them a food voucher for their local food bank. This voucher provides a food parcel of three days’ worth of non-perishable food from the bank. Other problems, such as rising period poverty, mean that food banks also accept and offer donations of toiletries within the parcel.
But as well as providing these emergency items, food banks work so that people don’t need to use them again. Specialised members of staff can provide additional support to help people resolve problems with their finances, such as debt, mental health issues, and a lack of access to government benefits. Some banks also offer services like childcare and educational courses.
All food banks rely on public donations, which are collected from places like supermarkets, schools, and local businesses. The Trussell Trust operates the most food banks in the UK, with 1200 food banks nationwide.
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Why You Should Donate To A Food Bank
Between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022, food banks in the Trussell Trusts UK wide network distributed over 2.1 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis.
This is an increase of 14 per cent compared to the same period in 2019/20, with 832,000 of the parcels going to children.
Compared to five years ago, the need for food banks in The Trussell Trust network has increased by 81 per cent.
Parcels are usually designed to last three days, but one in 10 of those handed out in 2020 were made to feed someone for seven days, increasing the volume of food given away by 53 per cent between 2019 and 2020.
The universal credit cut in October 2021 pushed an estimated half a million people into poverty, with 200,000 of those impacted being children, analysts say.
It is uncertainty which will lead to a surge in demand for food banks, experts said.
While anti-poverty campaigners lobby for long-term solutions like making the universal credit increase permanent, lifting the benefit cap and ending the two-child limit there remains an immediate need for people to get food even when they cant afford it.
How Can You Become A Food Bank Volunteer
According to The Trussell Trust there are more than 40,000 food bank volunteers operating across the UK.
Food bank donations – Find your local food banks and call them to ask what to donate to a food bank and where to drop it off. Your food bank donations are vital during school summer holidays with figures showing 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer holidays in 2018 – a 20% increase from the summer of 2017.
Food bank volunteers – Become a food bank volunteer at your local food bank. Find out more information on their website – call or email them to find out more. Volunteers can help out by sorting and packaging food parcels, or
Donate money – If you don’t have time to donate then you can always donate money. Either directly or via the Trussell Trust’s website.
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What Can You Donate To A Food Bank
The main thing to bear in mind is that whatever you give may be stored for some time before it goes to those who need it. Avoid things like fresh fruit and veg, fish, meat and dairy products as it might go bad and the food bank is unlikely to accept it.
The full list from The Trussell Trust of food you can donate to a food bank includes: cereal, soup, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, pasta sauce, lentils, beans and pulses, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tea or coffee, tinned fruit, biscuits, UHT milk, and fruit juice. Most food banks have clear guidance on what they put in a parcel, meaning deciding what to donate is simple.
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Can I Donate Toiletries To Food Bank
You can donate toiletries to most food banks but it’s worth checking on the local food bank website beforehand. The Trussell Trust recommends the following:
You can also donate household items, feminine hygiene products, and baby supplies too:
- Household items laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing up liquid
- Feminine products sanitary towels and tampons
- Baby supplies nappies, baby wipes, and baby food
- Face masks and hand sanitiser