Times are hard right? We're paying more for day to day living yet benefits are being cut and a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet. This is where Food Banks come in. They're popping up everywhere and more and more people are having to turn to them for help feeding their families. Some supermarkets have begun to introduce food bank donation boxes into their stores so you can donate while doing your weekly shop, however you can also donate directly to a food bank, or donate financially.
Think Money have been working with independent food banks to identify the reasons behind the rising food poverty in the UK. When they got in touch and asked if I'd like to get involved in their Food Bank Challenge I immediately said yes, not only was I happy to promote such a great cause, but I was also interested to see what I could do. I was given £30 and challenged to get as much as I could to donate to a local Food Bank. Being a student I was hoping I'd be a smart shopper and be able to get as much as possible for my money!
I started out by finding out where my local food bank was, they're often run by churches and mine was at the Trinity Methodist Church in my town. They had a list of products they needed on a regular basis so I made my list and headed out. I decided to shop at Aldi as I've personally found it considerably cheaper than other supermarkets yet the quality is still good. I wanted to get as much as possible for my money. All of the products are tinned or packet with no fresh produce, it would be best to check with your local food bank to see if they accept fresh produce because obviously packaged products have a long shelf life.
I mostly kept to the basics, cereal, biscuits, pasta, rice, long life milk, squash, jam and tea. A lot of the products were tinned, and this is a great way to be able to donate vegetables, I picked up tinned peas and carrots and also a big tin of new potatoes for 15p! Meat and Fish is also difficult to purchase not fresh, however I managed to get some tuna, hot dogs and meatballs in tins. I also added macaroni cheese, spaghetti and a tomato pasta sauce to my trolley. Rice pudding was another bargain find at 15p so I picked up a few cans of this.
My local food bank also asked for household and personal hygiene products. This was something I hadn't really thought of but it's definitely something that should be considered as these products can really add up. I picked up cleaning products and kitchen necessities, as well as deodorant, tampons, face wipes, toothpaste and baby wipes. Although I didn't get any you could also buy baby products such as nappies and baby food, or cater for those with a food intolerance with adding in some wheat, gluten or lactose free products.
Overall I spent £31.09, so I went slightly over budget but I think I managed to get a really good range of products. I defintitely think shopping at Aldi was the best option, with the most expensive thing being the kitchen foil at £1.89, the majority of items were below £1 and some things were below 20p! Which is such a bargain and really allowed me to get a good selection. I definitely think donating to a food bank is a really great way of helping others out and contributing to those in your community who may not be as good a position as yourself.
However you don't have to do a full shop like this, you could purchase a few things and drop them into your local food bank or a supermarket food bank box. Make sure to shop within your means and only donate what you can. Also, if yourself, or someone you know is suffering from Food Poverty or could maybe do with a helping hand now and then mention food banks to them. There is no shame in needing some support, especially with the gap between the rich and the poor growing.
I'd love to know if you've ever donated to a food bank, or if it is something you'd consider doing? What would be your bargain donation item?
*Think Money provided me with £30 to purchase this shop and I donated it to a local food bank. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I would donate to a food bank again with my own money.