Food Banks FAQs
Q. Can anyone just turn up at the Food Bank for food?
A. No, there is a process in place to get a food parcel. The person in need goes to a local referrer (e.g. Citizens Advice, Job Centre Plus or DIAL) who can work with them through their crisis providing other suitable support. The referrer fills in a voucher and the person brings this to their nearest Food Bank.
Q. How many times can a person come to the Food Bank?
A. Our principle is that people can have 1 voucher for a maximum of 3 visits … but that is the “principle”. If someone is in an ongoing situation (e.g. awaiting a benefits claim to be processed), then we will work with the referrer to make sure the person is helped throughout that period. (The maximum is usually 3 vouchers in a period of 12 months, which is a maximum of 9 food parcels during that time)
Q. Where does the food come from?
A. All our food is donated by wonderful people putting things into our supermarket boxes or collecting at churches and businesses… we are delighted with one can or a whole car full (yes, people fill the car and drive over, not wanting any special thanks – people are SO generous). Donations are most gratefully received at the Gorleston Baptist Church Monday/Thursday 9-12 and at the Salvation Army mornings.
Q. What help do you need?
A. Food of course! But don’t forget that it also costs money to run a Food Bank – if you can give regularly, however small an amount, that would make sure we keep going and can add new services Thank you 🙂
WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE A FOODBANK?
We invite people in to have a seat , a cuppa , a snack and a chat. Our volunteers talk to people about services locally and try to reassure you that help is available.
We are a Christian-led project that brings together volunteers of all faiths and none in order to provide a vital service to people in short-term need.
We work hard to provide everyone referred with the best service possible – for example, we work with Lidl, Tesco, Morrisons, Greggs and the food redistribution charity FareShare to offer fresh baked goods, fruit, veg and sometimes fresh eggs alongside our standard non-perishable food parcel.
We’re able to offer extras like toiletries, pet food, baby items like nappies and baby food. We always have a ‘help yourself’ table in our centre and a box of sanitary products, so people can help themselves to some extra items.
This extra support isn’t limited to physical items.
A big part of what we do is offering advice about where to access help with the cause of the crisis. Our volunteers talk to people about services available locally, and we can signpost to local statutory and voluntary groups that offer advice and support to people right at the point when it’s most needed.
These links with local agencies and charities are really important to us because working together across the community means people at risk of hunger are linked into emergency support faster. Everyone who comes to access our foodbank is referred by one of these local agencies. We’re able to signpost new people to agencies if they’re not already linked up. We can also deliver emergency food boxes to those unable to leave their homes.
At the same time as making sure all this support is in place, we’re also determined to address the bigger issues and challenge the reasons why people struggle to afford food. We send an annual report to local councillors so they know the reality which people are facing. We’ve been working to pilot a fuel bank helping ease the burden of high heating and energy costs. The thing that underpins absolutely everything we do, is ensuring everyone who comes to us is treated with dignity and respect.
No one should be unable to afford food and we know it can be hard to come to a foodbank. We make sure there’s emergency food, extra items, additional support in the long term and we advocate with our local representatives.
We’ll continue to be here for people whilst we’re still needed, but at the same time we’ll continue to keep working towards our ultimate goal: seeing an end to the need for our foodbank in Great Yarmouth.