“Oh, they’re on offer!” I exclaim, as I throw a share bag of chocolate buttons into the trolley. “They’re only a pound” I say to my husband as he looks at me disapprovingly.
An additional £1 isn’t going to make a difference on our weekly shopping cost.
However, for some people £1 may be their budget to feed themselves for the whole day.
Before you swtich off, and think I am about to mirror one of those heart wrentching TV adverts, guilt tripping you into donating money to something. I am not.
Lately I have been considering the direction of where my blog is going, and I would like to write more about issues in the world and in my local community. This is an article I have been thinking about and have had drafted for some time now.
Having recently felt challenged by the amount of money I spend on myself, and my leisure activities. It shocked me to think that my treats or little weekend trips away could feed a family for a whole week (possibly longer).
Which is why we have started to regularly give to the Food Bank.
What are Food Banks and Why do we need them in the UK?
Food banks date back to the late 1960s in the US. In the UK however, they started operating in 1997, run by the Trussell Trust to help combat UK poverty.
Despite Britian being the fifth largest economy in the World, there are still 13 million people in the UK living below the poverty line.
Many people, myself included will automatically think that people using food banks are homeless. This in fact is not true. Homeless people using foodbanks make up just 5% of the recipients. The majority of those that use food banks are low income families or those affected by the recent benefit changes.
Regular people, with regular jobs, people with children and familes.
Its a hard picture to get your head around. When someone has to choose between heating their home or putting food on the table.
How to give
You can donate to your local food bank either diretly, or at your local supporting supermarket, which for most large towns are Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco.
What to give
If dontating to your local food bank, the image above will give you a good idea of what items you can donate. Non perishable foods are only accepted at food bank, so no need to buy fresh breads or milk. Items are all taken from the donation points, and sorted at a central warehouse, prior to being distributed.
During a monthly shop, we take a separate basket and add in items to buy at the same time. We try to buy enough items that would help feed 2 families.
Recently we spent £15.80, which is what we would normally spend on a meal out each.
This is what we purchased for that money.
This included essentials such as rice, pasta, cereals, tinned vegetables, pasta sauces and UHT milk.
When you see all of this food spread out like this, knowing it cost the price of a pizza and a drink in a restaraunt, it really puts it into perspective.
Non food items
As well as donating food items to the food bank, you can also donate non food items. From toiletries to feminine items and baby supplies. This helps people look after themselves and those they are responsible for.
What do people visiting the food bank get?
People are referred to the food bank from health and care professionals. They will be issued with a voucher which they can exchange for 3 days worth of nutritionally balanced meals.
As well as this, people visiting the food bank can also grab a hot drink and chat to trained volunteers.
Donating to food bank is something we are committing to do on a monthly basis, I am happy to sacrifice a few daily coffees, and put this money back into supporting the local community.