THOUSANDS of Brits will rely on food banks this Christmas due to the cost of living crisis – but there are ways to help if you’re fortunate.
In 2021/22, the Trussel Trust supplied 2.2million three-day emergency food parcels – a 14 per cent rise compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019/20.
The sudden jump in demand during the pandemic put a strain on food banks before the cost of living crisis started impacting too.
Food inflation reached 12.4% between January and November, meaning some items are seeing their highest prices for years.
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to put food on the table for yourself and your loved ones this Christmas, there are ways to help.
It comes as Aldi recently started adding new signage to stores to highlight which products are most in demand for food banks.
The change is supposed to help those who wish to donate choose which items to pick.
Below we explain how you can donate.
How to donate to food banks
There are a few ways to donate to food banks, either by providing food or money, or becoming a volunteer.
If you prefer to offer cash, you can make a one-off donation or set up a direct debit.
All the major charities including the Trussel Trust and IFAN allow you to make donations via their websites, or you can donate directly to your local bank.
If you want to give food, you can drop it off at your local food bank, at a donation point in supermarkets or by hosting a collection at your school, church or workplace.
If you’re donating food, the products should be in-date and non-perishable items such as the below:
- Tinned tomatoes / Pasta sauce
- Lentils, beans and pulses
- Tinned meat
- Tinned vegetables
- Tinned fruit
- UHT milk
- Fruit juice
Essential non-food items like toiletries and sanitary products are also needed.
It’s a good idea to check what your local food bank is running low on beforehand to donate the most sought-after items.
To become a volunteer, contact your local food bank to find out how to sign up and donate your time.
How to donate to soup kitchens
Soup kitchens are often run by charities, community centres or church communities.
Similarly to food banks, you can either give money, food or become a volunteer.
To find your nearest one, simply search on Google and see what help they may be requiring and how to donate.
Food banks often donate their items to soup kitchens, which offer a cooked meal instead of the ingredients for one.
These are more common among the homeless and those who can’t afford to feed themselves.
How to get help with food costs
If you’re struggling with costs to stay fed, food banks aren’t your only option.
There are schemes in place by the government and local councils, such as the Household Support scheme which provides support in the form of vouchers, one-off payments and more.
If you’re pregnant or responsible for children under four, you could get healthy start vouchers.
Most local councils also run their own welfare assistance schemes for households on low incomes or who are dealing with a crisis.
Grants can sometimes be worth up to £1,000.
Plus, free school meals are on offer during term time and they will also be available to some families over the festive period.
Parents whose children qualify for free school meals can claim up to £40 per child, but this will vary depending on where you live.
The help given to each family depends on the local authority.
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