Food banks are such a great way of helping the community near where you live, and it really doesn’t cost a lot of time, or money. It’s such a great way to help without taking up a regular slot of your time, or if you’re someone that is nervous of seeing the realities of those that are struggling, it keeps you at an emotional distance.
Not so long ago, my dad told me every week he put aside some money in the weekly shop, to buy donations for the food bank. So, when I got to uni in a new city I tracked down the donation point closest to me and made my first trip there. I can assure you the people who work with the food bank will be so grateful for any donations, as will the recipients, and you’ll walk away feeling really good about yourself, too. The woman who oversees the donations near me expressed how, although useful, the banks tend to receive a lot of Baked Beans and Pasta, and tend to lack in other necessities. So I’ve written a little guide 3 step guide on the best way (in my knowledge) of how to go about giving to a food bank.
1. Ask! Even before making your first donation, suss out what that particular bank are lacking in, so your donation can be even more appreciated and useful. In my area, they lack toiletries, sanitary wear, nappies, fruit juices, teabags and coffee. This is likely to be the case in other areas, probably because when people do food bank drives, people bring from their cupboards what hasn’t been touched in a while (which is usually baked beans and tinned vegetables). So, make sure you are contributing something extra valuable.
2. Find the cheapest supermarket near you and shop there! Obviously, if you can afford stock of greater luxury, by all means go ahead! But in general, the food banks want quantity rather than quality, so if choosing between them, go for the quantity. For me, Lidl is perfect, as I can fill a basket for £6 and donate a huge amount more than any where else would allow.
3. Budget! If you’re a student, you’ll know your student loan isn’t accounting for feeding others, since it can be a budgeting dilemma to feed yourself! However, where I would normally stop and grab a snack or two in-between lectures, make this money your food bank money, as when it is transformed from buying a £5 meal deal, it can buy 10/15 tins for the bank. Sticking to your budget will also encourage your trips to be more regular, as you know it isn’t rendering you a broken person.
And there you have it! Please think about giving to food banks near you, you really can’t do much more good with less effort. It is important to acknowledge those near you who are living without the simple right of access to food and hygiene. It is a situation no one would choose to be in, and to place yourself in their shoes for one minute helps you recognise how much you would appreciate the kindness of others.