The demand for foodbank services has increased significantly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are over 2,000 foodbanks in the UK, providing emergency food parcels to people and families who are unable to pay for basics like food and essential household items, often due to a crisis like losing a job or a sudden illness. People are usually referred to a foodbank through an organisation like Citizens Advice, a GP, or a school who provide vouchers which can be exchanged for a food parcel. Foodbanks rely on donations of food and household items to provide families with emergency supplies. As a retail network, Post Office and Payzone can support foodbanks throughout the UK by hosting donation collection points in their branch. This is a simple process which shows your commitment to your community and many even encourage people to shop with you because you are making it easier for them to donate to the local foodbank.
Trussell Trust runs over 1,200 of the UK’s foodbanks and their online tool can help you find your local foodbank. You may have an independent foodbank near you which isn’t part of the Trussell Trust network, you will need to find these at a local level but they are usually well-promoted and often based on the Trussell Trust model.
To get involved and start hosting a collection point you need to:
- Contact your local foodbank and ask them if you can help by hosting a collection point in your branch (this will work best if you sell food or household essentials like soap, toilet paper and sanitary products or are near other shops which do). You can then talk to them about logistics – how will you arrange delivery / collection of the donations (some foodbanks may be able to collect from you, others will need you to deliver donations to them). It’s important to build a relationship with the foodbank, there may be other things you can collaborate on or other ways you can support them – remember, some of your customers will be foodbank clients too, it’s worth finding out more about your local foodbank, how people get referred etc.
- Set up a collection point in your branch – this can be a box, a basket or a trolley. It’s important that this is somewhere obvious, clearly labelled with the poster provided (this is important, it’s a legal requirement that people can see where donations are going) and is well-presented.
- Highlight it to your customers – let people know you’re supporting your foodbank, it’s an issue which a lot of people engage with and will be keen to support, make sure everyone in your community can get involved.
- Consider what else you can do – could you match donations or offer donated goods at a discount? Showing your commitment to supporting the foodbank cause can encourage your customers to get on board and sets you apart as a business which is working to support the community.
Greetham Post Office started their own foodbank at the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak and now also hosts a collection for the Rutland County foodbank. Postmistress Nicole-Marie Brown said:
“We make it easy for people to pay for food to donate and we buy the shopping the foodbank most needs that week for them to collect from us. Some people add their donation to their newspaper delivery, others donate when they’re in the shop, it’s become part of their routine and people know they can always donate with us.”
We’ve created a handy guide to setting up a collection point which includes a poster to display at your collection point. If you want to accept financial donations to the Trussell Trust charity, you can also do that through our Your Charity scheme which enables you to accept donations through Horizon for any chosen charity.