So you’re contemplating using a foodbank, here are a few pointers of how to go about this.

Please be aware that foodbanks, that are part of the Trussell Trust, will not just give out handouts.  Many of them work in coordination with other agencies to make sure that those in desperate need, get what they need in the fastest and most efficient way.

If you are totally new to this, and feel you need to use a foodbank for whatever reason, a great first place to start is the foodbank itself. A foodbank will be able to point you in the right direction of how to go about actually accessing help from them.

Be prepared to be asked a lot of personal questions, as many things can lead to people needing to use the foodbanks, and they have to make sure that the right people get the help that they need.  They also need to know things like how many of you there are, so they give you enough for all of you in your household and other things such as the ages of everyone who is living at the same address.   They are not being nosey, it is to ensure that if you need powdered milk for a baby, for instance, that you are given it.

You could also go to your local Citizens Advice Bureau, which can be found here: www.citizensadvice.org.uk.  Doctors are also often able to help or advise on accessing a foodbank, as are local councils.  As mentioned, many foodbanks use a referral agency that will only give out food vouchers to those whose situation deems it necessary and your local Citizens Advice, doctors or council offices may be able to help you quickly find the right organisation for this.

If you don’t have a way to access the internet and want to search for a foodbank most libraries have a computer you can use for free and can print what you need there if you wish.

Who are the Trussell Trust?

The Trussell Trust was founded in 1997 by Carol and Paddy Henderson.  It was based on a legacy left by Carols mother, Betty Trussell (hence: The Trussell Trust).

In 2000 Paddy received a call from a mother in Salisbury saying – ‘my children are going to bed hungry tonight – what are you going to do about it?’ After investigating data on poverty and deprivation in the UK, he found that significant numbers of people faced going hungry as the result of a sudden crisis.

From his garden shed and garage, Paddy started the Salisbury Foodbank providing 3 days of  food to help local people in crisis.

The Trussell Trust now supports a network of foodbanks which provide emergency food for people in crisis and additional support to help tackle the root causes that sweep people into poverty.  They also build peoples resilience so they are less likely to need the foodbank in the future.

Today they are campaigning to end the need for foodbanks.

(source: www.thetrusselltrust.org.uk)

Access

After discovering what you need to do in order to  access your local foodbank, you are hopefully now the proud owner of food vouchers that have been issued by one of the referral agencies.  These could range from your local council, your GP or the foodbank itself.  Every foodbank and area will be different dependent on whether the foodbank is independent or not and if they give out vouchers to access the foodbank.

These vouchers will often give you access to a three day emergency food box, in order to sustain you through the crisis you are in at the moment.

Do all foodbanks come under The Trussell Trust?

No, there are still some foodbanks that are independent, and these can be found by searching foodbanks on the internet.  You will then be able to search for the foodbanks in your area and the list will show those that are independent and those that are independent and those that are not.

That is why it could be important to talk to the foodbank itself in the first instance, as you may find that they are independent and have a totally different way of doing things.  Do bear in mind though that The Trussell Trust, helps and supports those in crisis as well as running the foodbanks, which currently stands at 1,200 around the country.

There are other charities that could also help if you feel you may be in need of the foodbank, and some of those could also be referral agencies for the foodbank.

Links

Here are a list of the websites mentioned above so that you can find them easily:

www.thetrusselltrust.org.uk

www.citizensadvice.org.uk

When you search on the computer for foodbanks here are some of the results:

www.thetrusselltrust.org.uk

Hardship Grants available, with documented evidence of need.

www.myrtwellbeing.org.uk

Here you will find people serving community meals in many locations using surplus food supplies

www.foodcycle.org.uk

Other charities that could be useful:

www.shelter.org.uk

www.salvationarmy.org.uk