IT’s shocking but true that one in five people in the UK live below the poverty line.
Foodbank use has been steadily rising, and with the festive season approaching, it means a lot of empty cupboards, and even emptier bellies.
Samantha Stapley, head of operations at The Trussell Trust (trusselltrust.org), says: “Foodbank use is increasing and we’re worried people will be going hungry over Christmas.
“The stories you hear at foodbanks can be heartbreaking — mums who are going hungry for days so their children can eat, or families sit in the dark so they can have a hot meal.
“But foodbanks offer food, and most importantly, hope, to people in crisis.”
So how can you help?
“There are lots of ways,” says Samantha, “from donating food, to donating time, to donating money.
“Christmas is a really busy period and foodbanks are sustained by generous donations from the public, so we’d urge people to go on our website, find their nearest foodbank, and see what they might need.”
Here are a few more ways you can contribute —
Start a foodbank
Your area may not already have a foodbank you can donate to, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need one.
All you require is a local community centre or church to set up in, and the backing of a registered charity.
For instance, join The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network and they’ll provide training, expertise and ongoing logistical support. Contact 01722 580171 or email@example.com for more details.
Volunteer with FoodCycle
If you love cooking, hate waste, and enjoy feeding people, hunt down your nearest FoodCycle branch (foodcycle.org.uk).
They host free community dinners for people in need, and the meals are whipped up using surplus food from supermarkets and local food stores.
Over-shop for a good cause
If you can afford to pick up any extra, make use of foodbank drop-off points at most major supermarkets.
Support — or start — a Community Fridge
Offering a space for residents and businesses to share surplus fresh food or spare items nearing their sell by date, the produce in a Community Fridge is then free to take for people who want or need it.
The Community Fridge Network offers support, as well as a “how to” guide for getting started at hubbub.org.uk/Event/community-fridge-network
Donate food from your business
Organisations like FareShare (fareshare.org.uk) and the app FoodCloud put retailers in touch with foodbanks and charities, to redistribute excess produce.
So, if you run a cafe or restaurant, or know someone who does, get in touch to set up food-sharing partnerships.
Share food you’ve grown
Why not donate your surplus fruit and veggies to charities?
If you don’t have any outdoor space, volunteer at a local community garden or allotment.
Whether you host a bake sale, run a coffee morning or embark on a long distance run, there are lots of ways to help raise funds — it just needs your time.
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