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AIBU?

To tell you about a nice idea that’s easy to do? (Food bank related)

102 replies

autumnnightsaredrawingin · 22/11/2019 21:59

For those of you who donate to food banks. I was talking to someone today who said that if anyone is donating now, a really lovely thing to do is to include a couple of chocolate advent calendars.

It means they can include them in boxes for families with young children who would otherwise have no calendar. I realise they’re not too environmentally friendly with the plastic, but I think the idea of giving some kids who have a pretty tough time a little bit of happiness is a good thing.

So, not really an AIBU but something to consider if you are about to donate to a food bank. Similarly, a nice tin of Christmas biscuits or chocolates will also be welcome.

OP posts:
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Gemma2019 · 23/11/2019 12:01

Yes just to reiterate that our local food banks have said please don't donate advent calendars as they will not be handing them out, for the reasons given above. But selection boxes and other Christmas chocolates are welcome. As are unwanted boxes of crackers.

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InfiniteSheldon · 23/11/2019 15:20

Argos are collecting toys so please also think about buying an extra box of lego/whatever and leave it in the donation boxes that are smack in the middle of the store.

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DigitalDee · 23/11/2019 15:24

Thanks for the tip OP and it's a nice idea but my goodness it makes me sad. UK children fed by food banks in 2019. Fingers crossed for change on 12 Dec, we cannot and should not carry on like this.

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childrenandhomeless · 23/11/2019 15:28

Its grim, but you do get used to it. I think we're going tonhave to again this Christmas.

Thank goodness food banks do exist and donators keep donating.

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childrenandhomeless · 23/11/2019 15:30

A shout out to the amazing women at foodbanks that not only hand out food parcels, but practical support and kindness

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MrsFoxPlus4Again · 23/11/2019 15:30

Also want to add they a lot of people get fixated on women hygiene products that men often get overlooked too.

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cannycat20 · 23/11/2019 16:51

@Mummyoflittledragon thank you so much for that link, I'd been racking my brains about how to do it via an online shop as it isn't always easy for us to get to the physical supermarket (combination of intermittent health issues and work shifts).

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PurpleFrames · 23/11/2019 17:13

Not sure if mentioned but pet food is also well received!

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ifIwerenotanandroid · 23/11/2019 17:44

Our foodbank doesn't accept pet food, so please check before you donate.

Thanks to this thread, today I didn't put in the sweets I'd been going to buy but got a £5 gift box of shower gel, body lotion etc instead, & put that in the collection bin. I hope that will cheer up someone.

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cannycat20 · 23/11/2019 22:20

@childrenandhomeless and the men too - one of my lovely ex-colleagues volunteers once a week, in a West Country city that used to be known for being very wealthy indeed, and yet has seen so many people suffer in the last ten years in particular.

Some very sensible ideas on here, and yes, we always check on the current list to see what the food bank needs, as it does vary on the time of year sometimes.

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childrenandhomeless · 23/11/2019 22:57

Sorry, I don't know about men volunteers. I was specifically speaking about the amazing women that helped us so very much.

Hope that hasn't offended you, it was just our experience.

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RollOnNextYear · 23/11/2019 23:17

PIL have an elderly. Friend who keeps buying treats for the dcs.. He has no family and enjoys it. So far he's give dd (20m) 4 x advent calendars in the last few weeks. I had already got her a milky bar one.. I'm. Going to donate 3 of the ones he's given (the 4th give to dsd) as she doesn't understand nor does she need 4 of them..
Bless him he's lovely. But has no concept of quantity of treats.. This week gave an advent. A santa. 6 wagon wheels and a pack of 8 juice drinks and a Teddy bear.

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cannycat20 · 23/11/2019 23:42

@childrenandhomeless not offended in the slightest, it's only that I have an ex-colleague who's now retired and does this kind of work and he's male. The important thing is that people are getting help. Hope things are improving for you and yours. Brew Cake Flowers

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squee123 · 23/11/2019 23:54

our food bank prefers a selection box or box of festive biscuits to an advent calendar because they contain more calories than the tiny chocolates in an advent calendar. When you're trying to feed a family on very little, calories are king.

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AuntyElle · 24/11/2019 00:19

My local food bank often particularly ask for men’s toiletries. Made me think of all the unwanted Christmas presents of men’s grooming stuff that could be donated. As well as actually buying some, of course.

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Lanurk · 24/11/2019 00:25

Instead of advent calendars or selection boxes please consider a donation of money so the food bank can use it to buy the stuff folk actually need?

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AuntyElle · 24/11/2019 00:28

And surely the food bank can buy in bulk at better prices?

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ClientListQueen · 24/11/2019 00:32

I keep an eye out for the sales after Christmas
Selection boxes can be split down, same with toiletries etc, and the million hand or body cream gifts people get!
I tend to add
Shampoo/conditioner
Shaving gel
Microwave long life sponge puddings/custard
Meals - there's a brand called look what I found and their stuff is really nice (I don't add anything I wouldn't eat myself)
Cereal that is appetising without milk
Anything that's just add hot water so noodles, instant mash pots etc
Anything I find in the Boots clearance section that's useful (often discontinued stuff but when posh shower gel is 20p, I'm taking it!)

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Mummyoflittledragon · 24/11/2019 02:10

@cannycat20
You are welcome. I have the same issue. I have in the past got dh / dd to do stuff for foodbanks. But I think money donations are actually a good idea. So these websites plus monetary donations for us.

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managedmis · 24/11/2019 02:24

If I'm putting a food parcel together for a food bank, what are good choices?

I'm thinking :

Tinned tuna
Tinned soups
Tinned pasta
Biscuits /choc bars
San Pro
Nappies
Pasta /rice
Peanut butter /nutella/jam
Powdered milk?

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AuntyElle · 24/11/2019 02:39

managedmis, possibly, but do google your local food bank and see what their most needed items are right now. Currently mine is saying they have plenty of pasta for example, but need fruit juice and men’s toiletries.

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LEELULUMPKIN · 24/11/2019 04:43

Below is a current list from my local Tussle Trust food bank if anyone is looking for ideas. Obviously this will vary depending on location, but as PP's have said, check with yours directly.

URGENTLY NEEDED ITEMS
COFFEE
LONG LIFE MILK
LONG LIFE FRUIT JUICE
TINNED COLD MEATS
RICE PUDDING
TINNED TOMATOES
SPONGE PUDDINGS
JAM
WASHING POWDER
SHAMPOO
DEODORANT
OUR SHOPPING LIST
INSTANT COFFEE
LONG LIFE JUICE
LONG LIFE MILK
TINNED HAM
RICE
RICE PUDDING
SPONGE PUDDINGS
TINNED TOMATOES
TREATS
WE'VE GOT PLENTY OF
BEANS
PASTA
BISCUITS
BABY FOOD
SANITARY ITEMS
BABY WIPES

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PhantomErik · 24/11/2019 12:00

I usually check the foodbank website in the lead up to school holidays & when I put the heating on. If people are paying more on heating it often has a negative impact on money available for food.

Food often asked for at our one is:

Cereal
Long life milk
Peanut butter
Chocolate spread
Cream crackers
Cereal bars
Instant noodles
Microwave rice
Instant mash
Tinned curry
Tinned macaroni cheese
Jars of pasta sauce

Most food that can eaten as it is or only needs hot water added or microwaving.

The homeless shelter in nearby town asks for food that can be eaten cold, straight from a tin or packet.

It's a sobering thought especially when the weathers bad Sad

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childrenandhomeless · 24/11/2019 12:44

Thank you cannycat.

There are a lot of families who need instant meals because they never learnt to cook. The pasta sauces and pasta so everything can just be heated. Things like fray bentos pies and tinned meat too. I struggle to see any health in it but it does put food in your belly.

Boxes of washing powder are a very expensive outlay for a family when often the dc wet beds and soil due to adverse life conditions and so have a greater need.

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cannycat20 · 24/11/2019 13:03

@childrenandhomeless Yes, I was having a discussion with a friend about this just yesterday.

Sometimes people donate things to food banks with the very best of intentions, not realising that those in need might be trying to look after a whole family in a tiny B&B or hotel or hostel room with, if they're lucky, access to a kettle by way of cooking facilities and not much more. If they're really lucky there might be a microwave in a shared kitchen area. And there might or might not be fridges, which might or might not be secure.

We also always make it a rule not to put anything in to the food bank collections that we wouldn't be very happy to eat or use ourselves, taking into account the paragraph above. Though this year I'm seriously thinking for Christmas a money donation might actually be a better option, from some of the comments. And after Christmas can be a truly tough time as well.

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