So how do you run a Food Bank?
First thing is to get a name, we call our food Bank We Care and it offers food aid to elderly , families running out of cash due to huge bills, people starting work and having to wait 4 weeks for first pay cheque and huge numbers of people being reviewed by the state during which time mainly disabled people find there entire income is stopped at a stroke, others are low paid and even local small traders not on welfare, but due to cash flow have no food to put on the table, almost all find asking for food shaming and almost all will not tell any other family member they are getting food aid.
Most Food banks struggle for food donations, We have the backing and sponsorship of Housemartins estate agents in London who pay our running costs and buy food when we run out.
Do not expect the public to give you all the food you need many will give 1 of donations and church groups will give once or twice a year, so you need to secure proper donations, a stall outside main supermarket is a great way to secure food, supermarkets may object to local food banks, so shame them by erecting a stall on the street close to store for people to donate.
Set up a Charity or you will find you must pay business rates, we are happy to help you set up a We Care food Bank in your area as part of We Care you would also get PR and help with food and training.
We do not offer vouchers as we think these are demeaning and we do not feed the homeless as already huge numbers of groups feed this sector, we offer the only UK pet food bank to keep familie units together in crises pets are first to go, in our area we have saved huge numbers from being dumped, strangely the pet food bank gets more donations than the peoples food bank.
Our clients can come once a week for as long as they need a third only come once in a crises, asking for food is not easy task and most people take up to 2 weeks from making contact to arriving at what we call the peoples supermarket, all clients that can, pay £1 for 10 items plus 1 extra item which could be soap, toothpaste, loo rolls sanitry towels etc.
We only give out fresh and tinned food, so ten items could be; cornflakes, milk, bread, rice or pasta, meat or fish, fresh fruit, fresh veg, tea or coffee, soup, beans, veg options noodles sauces.
We give each client a basket so they chose the 10 items they need and will eat insuring no food is wasted something that the big food banks fail at, we also treat all our clients as friends so they feel at ease when they arrive, we offer free advice on huge range of issues and childrens cloths exchange, Our present huge site is set for development so we are unsure how long we can stay, when we need to raise funds to buy our own building as this need is not going to go away.
We have started a Charity shop in half the Food Bank with Furniture and items donated covering our rent and rates and making this project sustainable.
Staffing, Thanks to Housemartins we have 2 paid workers and army of kind people who do huge number of things out of good will, many are former food bank clients grateful and wanting give back, but you need regular teams so clients feel safe and confident that there plight is not the areas gossip.
Local press is key in securing constant publicity, we have been very lucky with our local press, South London Press and the Mercury giving us constant coverage.
We Care is a Charity it was set up by Ray Woolford and Barbara Raymond who are key community activists in Lewisham People Before Profit,
You can follow Ray on twitter@Ray Woolford
We Care Food Banks, bank with Lewisham Co Op;
Sort 08 92 99
Account number 65659328
Every Penny goes direct to helping people in need
You may find my other postings on Food Banks on this blog of interest, worth reading who is running these Food banks, which is why we state our political leanings.
If we can help or you wish to visit, please email.