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3 November 2020, 13:09 | Updated: 6 November 2020, 16:04
Where is my local food bank and how do I get a food bank referral? Find out everything...
It’s a challenging time for many people at the moment, as England heads into a second lockdown.
But food banks across the UK will be staying open to support anyone who has difficulty buying enough food to feed themselves or their family.
Here’s everything you need to know about using food banks…
You can find your local food bank on the Trussell Trust website, which gives you the option to search your postcode.
The Independent Food Aid Network UK also has a map which will tell you where their 929 independent food banks are located.
Some food banks are only doing delivery services due to social distancing restrictions, so check online before you visit.
The majority require a referral and food bank vouchers in order to use them.
You can be referred to a food bank by professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers or police.
Your nearest Citizens Advice can help if you do not have contact with these professionals.
If you live in England or Wales, you can call Citizens Advice on their confidential free helpline on 0808 208 2138 (open Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm).
You will be asked about your circumstances, income and needs, in order for food banks to provide the right emergency food.
Once you have been given a voucher, you can exchange this for a minimum of three days’ emergency food.
You can get up to three vouchers at a time, giving you a total of nine days worth of food.
You might get a food bank referral if:
- You’ve been made redundant or have reduced working hours
- You have a low-income or are in debt
- A payment of benefit has been delayed
- You are turned down for a crisis loan
- Ill health
- Domestic abuse
Food banks will provide food as well as essential non-food items like toiletries and hygiene products where they can.
The Trussell Trust works with nutritionists to ensure the food parcels contain at least three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced meals for individuals and families.
Their website states that a typical food parcel includes:
Tinned tomatoes/ pasta sauce
Lentils, beans and pulses