s Christmas is approaching and the cost of living crisis continues to put immense pressure on families across the country.
A recent study by the Trussell Trust, which aims to end hunger in Britain, has found that more emergency food parcels have been distributed in the past six months than ever before.
With 320,000 people forced to turn to food banks and 1.3 million packages handed out, the Trust is urging the government to take immediate action.
The study also found that one in five people referred to one of their food banks lives in a working household.
Earlier this year, the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) said many food banks are struggling to meet high demand as inflation continues to take a toll on the poorest families.
A survey of 64 food banks across the UK by donation platform Bankuet found almost all were facing rising demand at a time of falling donations.
Almost one in 50 Britons have been forced to use grocery banks as supermarkets have become too expensive, according to a study by grocery retail app Ubamarket.
Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, told Metro: “Our data shows that nearly 6.7 million Britons will rely on these charities to make ends meet amid the cost of living crisis.”
Food bank donations are once again dwindling as needs reach beyond those on low incomes, Broome added.
Here’s how you can help your local London food bank:
Where is my local blackboard?
Many food banks in London are part of the nationwide network overseen by the Trussell Trust. These food banks, which you can find in most parts of London, work through a recommendation system.
The easiest way to find the food bank near you is through the Trussell Trust website which allows you to search for food banks in your area.
Alternatively you can use Bankuet’s online map which includes both Trussell Trust and independent London food banks.
You can also find out when they are open and the best way to contact them on their websites. It is best to call before you show up with a donation, as online opening times may be out of date.
Donate food and goods
The easiest way to help your local Tafel is by donating groceries. More than 90 percent of the goods distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network are donated by the public.
You can either donate items directly to your local food bank or to collection points in supermarkets across the country.
The Trussell Trust has compiled a list of recommended non-perishable foods for donation, including cereal, soup, pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, lentils, beans, legumes, canned meat, canned vegetables, tea/coffee, canned fruit, biscuits, UHT milk and fruit juice.
You can also donate non-food items such as toiletries, household items, women’s items, and baby items.
If you don’t have time to donate groceries, a cash donation is a quick, easy, and effective way to help your local food bank.
You can make a one-time donation or become a regular donor by setting up a direct debit on the Trussell Trust website.
In April 2022, Deliveroo introduced a fundraising feature in its app, allowing customers to easily make a charity donation at checkout. Generous Londoners have donated enough money to deliver more than 530,000 meals to food banks in the first four months of the scheme.
Supermarkets now also offer the option to make a donation to your online shopping cart. Ocado operates a program called “You Give We Give” that matches the money donated by customers.
Alternatively, you can also donate via Bankuet.
Sign up to volunteer your time
If you can’t afford to donate food or money but have time to donate, food banks are always desperate for volunteers.
No matter how much time you have to give, there are many different ways to help, whether it’s a camp volunteer, a delivery driver, or a helper at a Tafel center.
Use your postcode to search for opportunities at the Trussell Trust.
Set up a fundraiser
Whether you’re a walker or a baker, a runner or an adrenaline junkie, there are many ways you can raise funds for your local charity.
The Trussell Trust has compiled a list of charity challenges you can take part in including running, walking, swimming, cycling and adventures abroad.
Alternatively, you can fundraise at work, at church, or at your place of worship.
The most useful thing you can do for your local food bank might be the simplest – ask what they need. While the Trussell Trust, the country’s largest food bank charity, helps establish and support sites, the individual operation in your area makes its own rules.
Others are run through other charities or entirely independently.
Check out their tweets to see what appeals to them, email them to see what they’re looking for, or give them a call and offer them a few hours a week to get cans pile.
Or visit the website for more ideas.