What You Should Donate To Food Banks Amid The Current Shortages

The HGV driver shortage, plus a drop in donations, is forcing some charities to make up smaller parcels.

The HGV driver shortage is impacting petrol access and supermarket supplies – and now, it’s started to have an impact on the nation’s food banks.

Two thirds of food banks are reporting food shortages and more than 80% anticipate running low on stocks in the near future, according to a report by the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), which surveyed 68 food banks across the country.

FareShare, the charity Marcus Rashford supports and which delivers surplus supermarket supplies to food banks, told the Guardian deliveries to its warehouse are down by a third due to HGV driver shortages.

Other charities are reporting a decline in donations from the public amid the turbulent times, with some saying they’ll be forced to make food parcels smaller.

It means donating to a food bank, if you’re able to, is more important than ever. But what should you give to a local group?

The Trussell Trust has worked with nutritionists to develop a “food parcel” that contains at least three days of healthy, balanced meals for adults and children.

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In addition to the usual non-perishable foods and toiletries, some food banks are asking for items to help with the pandemic, such as face masks and hand sanitiser.

The below list could be a good starting point if you’re thinking of adding some extra items to your weekly shop, but the charity advises checking what your local branch is short so you can make the most useful donation.

Enter your postcode in this online tool to see what your local food bank needs this week.

A typical food parcel includes:

  • Cereal

  • Soup

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Tinned tomatoes/pasta sauce

  • Lentils, beans and pulses

  • Tinned meat

  • Tinned vegetables

  • Tea/coffee

  • Tinned fruit

  • Biscuits

  • UHT milk

  • Fruit juice

Some food banks also accept non-food items – these can include:

  • Toiletries, such as deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shaving gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and hand wipes.

  • Household items, such as laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder and washing up liquid.

  • Period products, such as towels and tampons.

  • Baby supplies, such as nappies, baby wipes and baby food.

  • Covid-19 supplies, such as face masks and hand sanitiser.

Again, the Trussell Trust advises checking with your local food bank first before dropping off products, because storage facilities and item shortages can vary between sites.