For some, Christmas doesn't bring the same joy it does to others, they are sturggling to make ends meet and rely on other organisations to help them through the festive period.
Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people in crisis. Their aim is to relieve the immediate pressure of the crisis by providing food, whilst also offering solutions to help identify and resolve the underlying causes of the crisis.
The number of people using food banks is still on the rise, and during the Christmas period they are expected to handout over 1.2million parcels during December.
Newly released figures reveal that during December 2015, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network provided 133,734 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis; 56,779 of these went to children.
To help with the surge in demand, Sarah, our Office Manager, decided to do an office collection. We all bought in food suitable for the foodbank, this includes anything non perishable, so tinned soup, beans, veg, and even pudding. Biscuits, cereal and any other items with a long sell by date will be welcomed.
Some top tips for donating to a food bank:
1. Call your local food banks to see what items they need most.
2. Many people who go to food banks have diabetes (or other dietary restrictions), so low-sugar options (like Cheerios or bran cereals, cheese/peanut butter crackers instead of cookies) are always a good bet.
3. Pastas and sauces have a long shelf life and usually last for more than one meal. Plus, they’re delicious and often nutritious.
4. Canned meats are welcome, but tuna is usually over donated (as are any and all types of soup). Go for tins of chicken, turkey, or pork.
5. The vegetable that food banks most often receive is green beans, so stray away from that staple. Corn, potatoes, carrots, and peas are always welcome.
6. Fruit follows the same guidelines as veggies. Canned pineapple is the most commonly donated fruit, so opt for canned peaches, pears, etc.
7. Reusable shopping bags are very practical. They’re also more durable for those who must travel a long way on public transportation or by foot.
8. Snacks items that food banks can never receive enough of include the following: Granola bars, peanut butter, applesauce, saltine crackers, and jerky.
9. Chocolate is a nice touch. It isn't very practical or essential, but it’s a thoughtful treat. Especially around holidays like Easter or Christmas.
10. Don’t forget that non-food items are also very important. You can get creative with these items, but toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, & moisturiser l go fast. Diapers and wipes are always appreciated.
We also donated some of our bags, which as mentioned above are very useful. Rachel from Burngreave Foodbank gave us some feedback, "The bags are fabulous and have been so useful. As most people coming to foodbank don't usually bring their own bags with them (although we do ask them too!) we end up getting through a lot of carrier bags. That wasn't a problem before the introduction of the 5p charge but since then, understandably, we don't get many bags given to us any more and so we have to buy them. To have some strong, eco-friendly re-usable bags to give out is fantastic and we are so grateful."
Sarah also organised for a number of our bags to go down to London to be packed as a Christmas goody bag by OFFL (Organising Food For London) with items that are very much welcomed by homeless people, for some it was the only Christmas present they were likely to receive.
OFFL operates in Central London and aims to support the homeless in a non-judgemental way, by providing food and to assist wherever possible, including signposting them towards agencies that can provide assistance.
OFFL gifted all the leftover bags to The Youth Project, TYPUK (a youth organisation) who handed the packs directly to rough sleepers on the streets in London.