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AMA

I manage a food bank... AMA!

107 replies

FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 07:49

Hi all,

I run a food bank as part of my job. We have recently opened up our community shop, too, which means people who have received emergency food parcels can pay £3 per week to choose items for 3 months to help them get back on their feet.

AMA!

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FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 07:51

P.S. - at work today so will answer questions tonight!

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Ohdearnotagain76 · 04/01/2023 07:54

How many items can the person choose for £3 a week

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Bobbin4apples · 04/01/2023 07:58

What items (food or otherwise) are you most in need of?

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Passthecake30 · 04/01/2023 07:59

Do you get food delivered from the major supermarkets, how often, and would you say is it exactly what the customers put in the donation shopping trollies?

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creamcoffee · 04/01/2023 08:00

do you get fed up with all the tins of baked beans being donated?

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Fantina · 04/01/2023 08:01

Someone gave me a joke present of a tin of sprouts for Christmas. I hate sprouts hence the joke. Will it be welcomed by anyone if I donate it? I hate the idea of donating something I’d hate.

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MolesOnPoles · 04/01/2023 08:05

I donate money, as I figure the food banks know what they want better than I do. Is that the best approach or do you prefer actual food?

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orbitalcrisis · 04/01/2023 08:34

What happens to people who are still destitute after 3 months?

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Warspite · 04/01/2023 08:37

Do you always believe that the clients/users are really that needy? Do you ever suspect fraud?
Do you see people attending looking too affluent to really need the help?
If so, how do you emotionally deal with that?

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LittleSpringSnowdrop · 04/01/2023 08:43

Do you mean a foodbank and separate community pantry? I run one too, we run the model under the Dignity in Practice guidelines from Nourish Scotland. Where are you OP as I’m always interested in how others run. The only other foodbanks I’ve come across are the Trussell Trust and many others in my area don’t rate their service, how they operate or how the treat service users. There’s 4 independent foodbanks/pantries opened recently in other areas around me, are you independent?

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SantaBakula · 04/01/2023 08:45

Apart from food what if anything would uou like people to donate?
I would imagine at this time of the year lots of people have unwanted hand cream, bath stuff , perfume , deodorant etc would you want them ?
Sanitary products ?

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justcallmeJane · 04/01/2023 09:11

What do you wish people don't donate?

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Ofbollocks · 04/01/2023 09:27

I volunteered at one for a short time, a few years ago. I found the ones who genuinely needed it were few and far between, mostly feeling that they shouldn't take charity, take from others who were more needy etc. The regulars were the ones who seemed to just be prioritising other purchases instead. Has this changed?

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thinkponk48 · 04/01/2023 10:54

I'm considering volunteering at my local one. What advice would you give

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FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 21:49

Ohdearnotagain76 · 04/01/2023 07:54

How many items can the person choose for £3 a week

Around 15-20 (which equates to £15 ish) items depending on availability at our community shop but every one that we've visited runs slightly differently!

We put items on colour coordinated shelves/in baskets depending on their value (we do purchase some things as well as recieving lots of donations and Fareshare deliveries).

Green they can (generally, again depending on availability) take as much as they want - fresh fruit/veg, short dated/past BBE items etc.

Yellow items are items that cost up to £1 (soup, beans, pasta, uht milk, biscuits etc) - generally we say 10 of these (if we've had to restrict green items or had a lot of donations like before Christmas we might say choose 12, or if we're running low or lots of red items, we might say choose 8). We will usually say no more than 2 of the same item, again depending on stock.

Red items are things that are more expensive (cheese, meat, ready meals, meal kits) and we usually say 2 or 3 of these (we actually said 5 of these a few weeks ago after some very generous donations so we were able to say 8 yellow items).

Hope that makes sense!

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FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 21:54

Bobbin4apples · 04/01/2023 07:58

What items (food or otherwise) are you most in need of?

We appreciate anything you can donate, however we do get lots of pasta, soup and beans donated (so rarely actually have to buy these!) but we don't often get toiletries (deodorant, shower gel, toothpaste, toilet roll) and cleaning products (washing up liquid, wash powder) donated, and we go through UHT milk, tinned meat and tinned fruit/veg quickly too so end up buying those most time we shop.

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WGACA · 04/01/2023 21:58

The community pantry sounds wonderful!

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FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 21:58

Passthecake30 · 04/01/2023 07:59

Do you get food delivered from the major supermarkets, how often, and would you say is it exactly what the customers put in the donation shopping trollies?

We get donations from the actual supermarkets (big shout-out to Morrisons, our local depot community champion is amazing and brings us a huge donation every couple of months).

The donations in the supermarkets are collected by our amazing volunteers (we'll get a call asking us to come saying the trolley is full!) Sometimes we just receive the customers donations and other times the supermarket have added extra items too.

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Ricco12 · 04/01/2023 22:01

Glad to hear that about Morrisons I only shop there as they are the only supermarket who only stock British meat and totally support British farmers. You have now given me another reason to love them Grin

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FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 22:02

creamcoffee · 04/01/2023 08:00

do you get fed up with all the tins of baked beans being donated?

Haha I'd not even seen this when I said above we get lots of beans!

No, we appreciate everything. And they are popular, I would say practically everyone takes a tin or two when they come to our community shop and they always go in our emergency food parcels so they are very much needed :) we are finding that people are wanting quick and easy meals, and with rising energy costs, even more so now, and what's quicker and easier than beans on toast!

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FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 22:05

Fantina · 04/01/2023 08:01

Someone gave me a joke present of a tin of sprouts for Christmas. I hate sprouts hence the joke. Will it be welcomed by anyone if I donate it? I hate the idea of donating something I’d hate.

We get some weird and wonderful food donated! We wouldn't put something like that in an emergency food parcel as it is an acquired taste, but I'm pretty sure someone would end up taking it at some point from our community shop!

We had a tray of tinned prunes donated a few months ago, I thought who on earth will take those! I saw today there's only 1 tin left so someone must like them (although I think it might be the same person taking a tin each week!)

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FoodBankManager · 04/01/2023 22:07

MolesOnPoles · 04/01/2023 08:05

I donate money, as I figure the food banks know what they want better than I do. Is that the best approach or do you prefer actual food?

Anything is appreciated, honestly it really is.

Money donations are great as we can buy exactly what we need but also items are fab too as we don't need our volunteers to get the from the supermarket too. We get both and we can make use of anything.

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Howmanysleepsnow · 04/01/2023 22:11

If people go to the food bank do they get to choose what they get or is it a preselected parcel? If the latter, what’s normally in there?

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Howmanysleepsnow · 04/01/2023 22:13

Also, would herbs/ spices/ garlic be appreciated or is it more main ingredients?

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PositivePants2023 · 04/01/2023 22:17

Are you an independent or trussel trust food bank? I’ve heard there are differences and am interested to hear if it’s true.

my question aside, thank you for what you do x

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