How to Volunteer at a Food Bank

How do I volunteer at a food bank?

An easy way to find volunteer opportunities is to use Trussell Trust’s online tool. The charity supports a network of over 1,300 food banks across the country, run by over 28,000 volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer with the Trussell Trust, just enter your postcode here. If there are no results in your immediate area, you may consider expanding the search area if you are able to support a little further.

There are also over 1,000 independent food banks in the UK. You can find plenty on the Independent Food Aid Network map here. The best way to find out if your local food bank is looking for volunteers is to check their website or social media pages.

Food banks often use social media to call for volunteers to sign up. Check Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter accounts to see if your local center has information about becoming a volunteer. For example, Wimbledon Food Bank recently shared their volunteer application form on their Twitter account.

If you’re still struggling to figure out how to volunteer, it’s worth contacting us directly by email or phone to see how you can help. If staff are not looking for volunteers at this time, they may be able to direct you to other charities that need your help.

How old do I have to be to volunteer at a food bank?

It really depends on the location – each is run differently and will have its own rules. At Foodshare in Maidenhead, for example, you have to be at least 17 to volunteer. Others will only accept volunteers over the age of 18.

Nourish Community Foodbank in Tunbridge Wells has a youth volunteer program for secondary school students in Years 7-13, and they support volunteers who complete the Duke of Edinburgh program.

If you’re unsure if you’re – or your child is – too young to volunteer, it’s worth contacting us. There may be other ways to help, such as organizing collections at your school or community centre.

How can I help my local food bank?

If you don’t have time to volunteer, donating is a great way to make a difference. Most food banks have lists on their website or social media pages with exactly the items they need – it’s important to stick to this list. They may be overwhelmed with pasta donations, for example, but have no canned vegetables to offer guests.

Online tools like Bankuet and Foodbank App can be used to find your local food bank as well as discover the resources they need most.

Most supermarket chains have a food bank collection box in their larger stores, making it easy to donate while doing your weekly shopping. Lidl launched its Good to Give initiative this year. A total of 30 shelf-stable items from supermarket shelves have been carefully selected and feature the trusted Good to Give mark on their packaging.

All you have to do is put the item in your trolley and drop it off at the food donation points located after checkouts in Lidl stores. The items will then be collected regularly by local food banks and community projects.

Find out what it’s really like inside a food bank with our Diary of a Food Bank Manager series

If you prefer to donate cash, food banks usually accept cash donations as well. Services like the Trussell Trust and IFAN accept online donations, either on a one-time or recurring basis.

You can also organize fundraisers or organize a collection at your school, place of worship or community group. Your local food bank may host their own charity events like bike rides or sponsored events – or you can create your own.

The Trussell Trust has a fundraising pack so you can help raise money for the charity, and it’s full of ideas to get you started. They also set up events like Tea for Trussell or Step Up September. You can have fun while raising money for a fantastic cause!