In hard times, even food becomes a difficult commodity to acquire. There are food banks available in many areas of the UK that offer everything from hot meals served daily to actual supplies of food that each visitor can take home for preparation and consumption. Some are advertised openly and others require inside knowledge about where to find them. Here are some tips on how to find a local food bank when you or someone you know needs one.
How to find a local food bank
Look in the local newspapers. Many agencies, especially churches, will advertise food banks and offerings there.
Hunt online by searching the area in which you live. Look for charitable organisations using search terms like "free food bank services," "free food," along with your city or county name. The Guardian online has an excellent map of all UK food banks. See resources for the link.
Check with local churches. Visit or call them and ask if they provide any kind of food programme. If they do not, they may be able to refer you to a church or an agency who does.
Look up your local government or council food resource programmes online or in the phone book. Many local councils offer a list of area food banks and food services.
Ask people you know if they know of any food services. Sometimes word of mouth is the best way to find unknown resources. Some places that offer food do not advertise at all.
Find out if your local school is aware of any food bank programs, if you have children attending the school.
Some food banks may require service in exchange for the food, like donating some of your time. They may also require proof of residency or some form of identification, while others will take anyone who comes in, no questions asked. Make sure you find out what the requirements are ahead of time. When you find a local food bank, keep track of times and days of service. They may only be available certain times or days of the week. Ask what they provide so you know what to expect. Times are tough, and even the food banks are hurting for supplies and workers.