People often ask me about food banks and what it’s like to volunteer at one, so here’s a bit of information about them.
1. Food banks aren’t just about food.
They also provide items like toiletries and nappies… and pet food! Plus they offer an opportunity for clients to have a chat with somebody who won’t judge them, and get information about other sources of help.
2. Food banks aren’t a free for all.
Everyone who uses a food bank is referred by a professional such as a social or health worker or by charities or organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau.
3. Food banks are only a stop gap.
Depending on the food bank, clients receive 3-5 days worth of food, which is supposed to provide a nutritionally balanced diet. Clients are limited to a certain number of visits to a food bank per year (usually 2 or 3).
4. Food banks aren’t only for people who are homeless.
Many people using food banks do actually have a roof over their head and may be in work. There are countless reasons why somebody might need to rely on a food bank.
5. Food banks are supported by supermarkets.
Food bank donations come from supermarkets as well as members of the public. Tesco is a partner of the Trussell Trust, for example, and increases public donations by a further 30%.