With the current climate the way it is the stark reality is that more and more people are going to need to know how to access a food bank in the coming weeks and months. Firstly, I want to make sure that you understand this is nothing to be embarrassed about, whether you have needed one before or whether you need one now due to the impact of the corona virus on your financial situation. Whatever position you find yourself in if you need to know how to access a food bank then you need to know how to access a food bank and that is absolutely fine. Hopefully this step by step guide will help you.
Unfortunately accessing a food bank it is not as easy as just turning up and asking for food, you do have to go through an interview process and be given a voucher. However, please do not let this put you off, it is still relatively quick, easy and done with no judgement. I can say this with certainty as in one of my previous roles part of my job was to issue these vouchers.
So if you live in or near to Chester here is how to access a food bank in your area in 3 simple steps. If you do not live in or around Cheshire you will need to google the food bank in your area and contact them direct.
1 Contact West Cheshire Food Bank
Either ring them direct on 0151 355 7730 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and explain that you are in need of food and where you are based, they will then provide you with the details of a voucher supplier in your area.
2 Meet with a professional
Once you have been told where and when to meet your professional you will need to go to this appointment. You will be asked a series of questions such as name, address and why/how you have found yourself in this position. This is not so they can be nosy this is so they can
1) see what other support they can offer or signpost you too and
2) make sure the system is not being abused by anyone
3 Collect your food from the food bank
Once you have been issued with a voucher you will be told where and when this can used and it will enable you to collect a minimum of 3 days worth of emergency food such as dried goods and tinned foods. The contents always vary depending on availability and nothing can be guaranteed however if you or someone in your household has specific allergies or dietary requirements do mention them as they will try and accommodate as best they can. This also includes being vegetarian or vegan by choice, if they can accommodate they will.
If you require baby products such as nappies, hygiene products such as toothpaste or pet food then please do ask them if they have anything available as if they do they will also let you have some however it might not be offered upfront to everyone.
Some food banks will only allow you to use them so any times over so many months so it is important that you understand how to reduce your own food waste, plan your meals for the week ahead and cook cost effective meals wherever possible. If you need help with any of this you can ask the people at the food bank and they will be more than happy to point you in the direction of some good resources.
I hope this article has helped you understand how to access a food a bank but more importantly, I hope it has helped you realise that food banks are set up to help people not judge them and if you need it please, please, do access it. If you are unsure if you are getting all the correct benefits and help that you are entitled too then please do check and if that sounds daunting then know that there is help with HMRC available.
If you are reading this and do not need to use a food bank yet then please do donate to your local food bank when and if you can, every little really does help, now more than ever.