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to expect people not to give ridiculous items to food bank...

206 replies

MariaAngustias · 23/03/2021 13:23

I volunteer at a food bank. Everything is weighed in then weighed out for audit purposes. Whilst there are many lovely and generous people who donate to use there are some people who give such odd and weird things - out of date food, opened packets, packs of hair dye (yep, few of these at moment), medication ... and obviously this stuff cannot be given out but it has to be sorted, weighed and then disposed of. Why?!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

katy1213 · 23/03/2021 13:24

Maybe someone would be glad of hair dye.


HeartsAndClubs · 23/03/2021 13:26

It’s like people who e.g. give old soiled clothes to charity shops or out of date cakes to the school fete.

IMO they do it because they can then say they’ve given to charity whereas they’ve just offloaded all their crap out of the cupboards.


NaturalStudy · 23/03/2021 13:27

I think most people are genuinely trying to be helpful (although opened packets are stretching it). As someone considering whether to put in some hand cream/moisturiser I won't use in the hope that someone else can use it, I can see a situation where I had some hair dye I wouldn't use and thought someone else might like it. Why can't you give out hair dye out of interest?


PrelovedWithValue · 23/03/2021 13:29

My local food bank has a table with things like that (not opened food, but out of date food, specialised food, toiletries including hair dye) that people coming to the food bank can take in addition to their food parcel, if they want it.

Could you offer something like that?


skirk64 · 23/03/2021 13:30

People probably think that out of date food is fine to give because best before dates are just that, food is still safe to use afterwards but might not be at its peak.

Also hair dye seems no more inappropriate than giving sanitary towels or shampoo. Or do food banks strictly take food only? (Genuinely don't know, I don't give to them because I don't agree that people should have to rely on them.)


EineReiseDurchDieZeit · 23/03/2021 13:30

I did a Food Bank haul out of my cupboards at the weekend. Checked all dates and binned anything out of date. Its not hard.

RE None Food Items I see a lot of these in the trollies and the logic I guess is that people may be in need of more than food.

What is acceptable, as I've always just done food because I am not sure.

Boots and Superdrug have Beauty Banks in some shops. It's Jo Jones & Sali Hughes thing.


luxxlisbon · 23/03/2021 13:31

Open or out of date food is obviously not on, but I don't think hair dye it is particularly ridiculous. There is no reason food banks can't have separate toiletries or self care packages.


ThePricklySheep · 23/03/2021 13:32

The odds of the hair dye being in the colour someone needs, and the logistics of storing it and finding the person who needs it are difficult though. It’s not like shower gel.


yoyo1234 · 23/03/2021 13:33

Can understand the frustration for almost all items on that list. I was wondering about the hair dye though. Hair dye could give some one confidence ( I have lots of grey and it does upset me). It could make someone going for eg a job interview feel better potentially ( or pick them up a bit when they may need it). What about new moisturizer, hand/body cream, shampoo and conditioner etc.


HeartsAndClubs · 23/03/2021 13:33

I’d be surprised if they’re allowed to give out out of date food.

Supermarkets have very strict guidelines re out of date food, so if someone were to take some at a food bank and fall ill who would be liable?


AnaofBroceliande · 23/03/2021 13:33



FTEngineerM · 23/03/2021 13:34

Why no hair dye? I’d love hair dye if I couldn’t afford it!


emilyfrost · 23/03/2021 13:35

It’s the same reason people give crap to charity - they don’t want it and just want rid. They don’t actually care about doing a good deed.


HeartsAndClubs · 23/03/2021 13:35

Shower jell/moisturiser are different though as they’re fairly generic. Obviously people might have a preference but you can wash with pretty much any kind of shower jell.

Hair dye is very specific though.


HeartsAndClubs · 23/03/2021 13:36

Also think about the message that giving out of date food sends.

It essentially says “I’ve got this stuff in my cupboard and I don’t want it because it’s out of date, so let’s give it to the food bank, they’ll be grateful.”


PrelovedWithValue · 23/03/2021 13:36

There are online shops that specialise in selling food past its best before date. There's no law against it, and there's no safety implications.

It's 'best before' not 'awful after'.

(Use by dates are different and should be stuck to)


EineReiseDurchDieZeit · 23/03/2021 13:37

Even though its true that food past a BBD is still usable, I imagine that Food Banks have Food Hygiene rules they cant break.

Also, it's degrading

Can't afford to feed your kids?

Here have my OOD shit

It's very Let Them Eat Cake IMO


PurrBox · 23/03/2021 13:37

Sad that out of date staples can't be offered as an option to needy families (with a mention of the fact that they are past their sell by date, perhaps).

When my son was volunteering with a homeless charity, they were constantly sending home with slightly out of date cornflakes and things like that, which were perfectly fine, and which we didn't need, but the charity would have had to bin them if the volunteers didn't want to take them home....


idontlikealdi · 23/03/2021 13:38

Easy way to get rid.

Anything I give to any charity is as I would like to be given. I see things about half a pack of nappies or tampons. Whoever needs that support doesn't need to be made to feel more worthless than they presumably already do by being given someone's half opened cast offs.


BashfulClam · 23/03/2021 13:39

Hair dye has a risk of allergic reaction. People on poverty can also live in a chaotic environment with a shared bathroom, limited hot water and also it might not be the right colour for a lot of people. If putting in toiletries please put in soap, shampoo, sanitary items, bog roll etc.


ChocOrange1 · 23/03/2021 13:41

I think our local food bank probably gets a load of useless stuff just after Christmas. Jars of tapenade and piccalilli that someone didn't want from their Christmas hamper.


PrelovedWithValue · 23/03/2021 13:41

Also, it's degrading

Hope is it degrading when it's an option that people can choose, in addition to their food parcel, if they want it?

Is it really better that it goes to waste?

It's it degrading that charities pick up out of date food from supermarkets in order to create meals for the homeless? Because that happens too.


Trisolaris · 23/03/2021 13:42

If my food bank took hair dye and I had some I wasn’t going to use I’d rather give it than bin it!

In the same way I always get given loads of face masks and toiletries I won’t use for Christmas (allergies) and I know my local food bank does take those so I give them that in the hopes someone can feel a bit pampered.


Confuzzlediddled · 23/03/2021 13:42

We have locally a specific project for out of date food, unlike a food bank, anyone can go and buy a box of food, in addition they supply a lot of fruit and veg to schools, much of which is just not the right shape to be sold!
They have also done catering for events with the food!
It is specifically best before not use by.


Saz12 · 23/03/2021 13:45

If I needed a food bank the. I’d definitely be prioritising meals over hair dye, moisturiser etc.

But if someone has donated stuff they just won’t use, then food banks offering it in addition to food seems fair enough, surely?

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