National Food Bank Day - 5 easy ways your company can support food banks
National Food Bank Day falls on the first Friday of September and brings awareness to the continuing and worsening problem of people in our community going hungry. National Food Bank Day was created in 2017, to commemorate 50 years since the founding of St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, the first food bank in the world, and to recognise the outstanding contributions of food banks around the country.
Approximately 7 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat and are going hungry for reasons ranging from job loss and illness to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income: circumstances that can affect any of us. With the cost-of-living crisis deepening, the demand for food banks is expected to soar as more people struggle to afford food.
National Food Bank Day is a great day for companies to support their local food banks and help communities where a simple box of food can make a huge difference to families. Here are 5 actions your company can take to support your local food bank and ensure families and individuals are not going without food:
- Collect food to donate to your local food bank
Organise a food collection day where employees bring in non-perishable goods like cereal, tinned foods and UHT milk or non-food items such as toiletries and hygiene products. These can then be boxed up and donated to a local food bank. Food banks use these donations to create food parcels that contain at least three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced meals for individuals and families.
- Keep leftover food from office parties to reduce wastage
Planning office socials can be a pain as you can end up with more food than people. If you are left with an overwhelming amount of food, any unopened, dried, or tinned items can be packaged up and taken down to the local food bank. Every year over 2 million tonnes of edible food is wasted across the food industry when it’s discarded. That wasted food would make the equivalent of 1.3 billion meals for people.
- Join or create a food bank hashtag for other people to see and interact with
Join the #NationalFoodBankDay hashtag and post any activities your employees are getting up to. Whether it’s volunteering at a local food bank or packing up boxes of food to be donated, let social media know how you are helping your local community. This can encourage other companies or individuals to participate and help their own local food banks which will be much appreciated in these trying times. You can even have a company day where employees donate to a food bank and post pictures on social media using your own hashtag.
- Make a financial donation
Most food banks rely on donations to feed those going hungry, so giving money can be a huge help. Especially in the current economic climate, the need for donations is at its highest. Sometimes food banks can lack certain food items that have not been donated, but with financial help, they are able to fill the gaps of whatever food items are missing.
- Volunteer at your local food bank
One of the best ways to help your local food bank is by volunteering. As demand for food banks increases, volunteers play a vital role in giving direct support to people who use food banks. From meeting and greeting the people collecting food to just having a cup of tea with someone and making them feel comfortable, you can help ease the pressure on food banks as well as gain more understanding about what individuals are going through at this time.
This year, we've partnered with the The Felix Project - a charity which collects food which can’t be sold and helps charities and schools provide more healthy meals for vulnerable people. We have also partnered with City Harvest London, another amazing organisation combating food waste and food poverty in London. Rising living costs mean many families will face tough times ahead. In the face of this, we will remain dedicated in doing our best to fight against food poverty and food inequality and encourage our colleagues, clients and partners to do the same.