Friday 7 December 2018

Donating to foodbanks at Christmas

Christmas is definitely the time for giving and, as such, a lot of people donate to foodbanks more so than throughout the rest of the year. I'm not here to tell you that you should be donating year-round, because not everybody can - so if you DO donate at Christmas, thank you for being a wonderful human. I was talking about this on Twitter a few days ago and wanted to just collate my thoughts, advice and ideas in a blog post. And here we are...

First of all, check what the final date is to drop your donations at the collection point; it's best to donate as early as possible, but if you're really busy throughout December just make sure you don't miss the cut off point. For our local foodbank the latest you can donate stuff is the 20th of December, and it's probably pretty similar across the country, but it doesn't hurt to double check.

Have a look on your local foodbank's website to see what particular items they're in need of - I've popped a more general list below, which also includes the products my local one have said they need. Most of these things can be picked up for less than a quid in your local supermarket, but places like B&M or Home Bargains are also really good for finding branded foods at a cheaper price.

They're on the list, but don't forget about non-food items such as deodorant, baby wipes, soap, nappies & nappy bags, shower gel, shampoo & conditioner and tampons & pads. It means people in crisis can retain their dignity, but so often these items go forgotten when people are adding extra packets of pasts and bags of sugar to their weekly shop!

The thing which sparked the little discussion I had on Twitter was tin openers - I was thinking, with a lot of things on the list being tinned (fruit, veg, meat etc), it's definitely a necessary item to own. People tend to donate own-brand food and the cheaper the tins are, the less likely they are to have a ring pull on them. It's such a simple little thing, but not having a tin opener might leave some people hungry. You can get bog-standard ones for a quid in Wilko, so consider chucking a couple in with your donations this Christmas! As I was looking into it, I found this article about tin openers and foodbanks that Jack Monroe has written recently - definitely worth a read.

So that's pretty much it - if you are donating to foodbanks this Christmas, you're a wonderful person. It's a sad state of affairs when so many have to rely on them (December is actually the busiest month for foodbanks), but knowing there are so many kind-hearted people willing to donate is lovely.

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