According to the Trussel Trust, from April 2019 to March 2020 approximately 1.9 million people in crisis in the UK used a food bank for emergency food supplies – and with 2020 proving to be such a challenging year for so many, that number is expected to rise dramatically. Many people are looking at how to help the community around them, and donating to your local food bank is a perfect way to make a difference.
Unfortunately, more people working from home means fewer office food bank collections being organised – but there’s no reason that coronavirus restrictions should stop anyone from donating if they’re able.
From virtual food drives to reverse Advent calendars, there’s plenty families and workplaces can do to support those in need in their communities.
Virtual food drives
Many workplaces who’ve gone remote will forgo the traditional donation box in the corner this year, but you can still encourage your colleagues to donate as a group. Contact your local food bank to see if they have a Christmas shopping list of specific items they need, and organise your colleagues to collectively assemble items from the list.
Find your nearest foodbank donation centre here, or drop off in your local supermarket’s collection bins – Tesco will even top up customers’ food donations with a financial donation of 20% of the value of the items donated.
Reverse Advent calendars
Reverse Advent calendars are a great option for families – instead of taking something out every day, you put something in.
At Compass Fostering, we’ve run reverse Advent calendars in previous years with great success. If you’d like to organise one for your family, social network, or office, create a list of 24 different items to request each day. Include non-perishable food and toiletries, and set up weekly reminders to encourage family, friends and colleagues to participate.
Get your children excited about participating by searching out specific items together – see our list of best items to donate below.
Food Bank Fridays
Encourage family, friends, and/or colleagues to donate by holding Food Bank Fridays throughout the festive season. The Trussell Trust has some great resources for organising your own Food Bank Friday, including invitations, posters, and more.
Organise a challenge event
Encourage your family or colleagues to get active while raising money for the food bank by challenging them to run, pedal or hike for charity. Make it festive by encouraging everyone to wear Christmas jumpers, dress up as Santa, or don silly hats. FareShare has some excellent resources on how to get started.
Consider year-round support
Food banks provide help to families in need every day of the year, but often see donations drying up after the Christmas season ends. Consider signing up to be a monthly donor to your local food bank to help make sure that families in your community have the supplies they need all year long.
Best foods and items to donate
The best place to find out what to donate is at your local foodbank, but the Trussell Trust has put together some useful lists to help you get started:
• Tinned tomatoes/ pasta sauce
• Lentils, beans and pulses
• Tinned meat
• Tinned vegetables
• Tinned fruit
• UHT milk
• Fruit juice
• Toiletries: deodorant, toilet paper, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, etc
• Cleaning supplies: laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing up liquid
• Feminine products: sanitary towels and tampons
• Baby supplies: nappies, baby wipes and baby food
• Face masks and hand sanitiser
We hope you’ll join all of us at Compass Fostering this year as we donate what we can to help those who need it most!
With so many families across the UK dealing with extremely challenging circumstances this year, the need for foster carers has never been higher. Change the life of a child in your community by becoming a foster carer – get in touch to find out more.