How you can give what foodbanks need most
An online platform called Bankuet provides a way for foodbanks to stock up on their most needed items. Hannah Worsley, Project Manager at Norwich Foodbank, explains the scheme.
One challenge we've always faced as a foodbank is ensuring a good mix of items to make up the three-day nutritionally balanced food parcels we give out, in line with Trussell Trust guidelines. As foodbanks across the UK will attest, baked beans, soup, pasta and cereal are donated faithfully by generous donors, but items such as UHT milk, long-life fruit juice, long-life sponge puddings and interestingly, pasta sauce, are often on our 'most needed' list and we occasionally need to buy them in to top up stocks.
We are constantly amazed and humbled by the generosity of so many individuals, groups, churches and businesses who give regularly and / or generously, and are delighted when we get the question by email, phone or social media: “What items do you really need at the moment?” Then we can guide people on what to donate - and this list changes at least monthly.
We had heard of various online platforms that can help with this very first-world problem, but some include considerable costs and others rely on people downloading an app or constantly checking something (like our website) and so we were pleased to hear good experiences of Bankuet from other foodbanks and looked into it a bit further.
Instead of buying food items or toiletries, people can make a financial donation to Bankuet. We update the site weekly with our needs and then Bankuet buy the items we have specified and arrange a bulk delivery totalling the amount received in donations.
People across the country can choose the foodbank their donation goes to - so can change this each donation if they wish - and the foodbank receives the items they most need at that time. We joined in May this year and have received three large deliveries so far and a few comments from donors saying the process was very easy. They know we'll get exactly what we need, and because they're not shopping in the same way (i.e. going to a supermarket), donating physical items is harder for them so this is a good way of still supporting us.
You can donate to Norwich Foodbank through Bankuet on: