I can’t imagine what it must be like to not have enough money to feed my children and luckily, that’s not something that I’ve ever had to worry about.
Lots of families across the UK aren’t that lucky though and it makes me sad to read that between the 1st April 2017 and the 31st March 2018, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed a massive 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis across the UK which is a 13% increase on the previous year.
That’s just such a sad statistic – to think that in 2018 there are so many families who genuinely just can’t afford to live.
I can’t change the number of people who need to use a foodbank but what I can do is help my local foodbank by donating to them as often as I can – something which is actually super easy to do as both of the supermarkets in our town have food bank deposit areas so I can just literally pop some extra items in my trolley and stick them in the big collection basket as I go past.
The things I buy most often are:
- Sanitary towels are always top of my food bank list. Tesco does a pack of 10 for 23p so I usually pick up a pound’s worth of these packs when I remember.
- Tinned fruit and vegetables are a good way to help families get their 5 a day and can be super cheap ranging from about 17p a can. I go for fruit in juice rather than syrup and veg in unsalted water where possible.
- Tuna is a fab source of protein for families but I get that it can be expensive so I often buy the multi packs for us and split them in the shop to pop in the box.
- Pasta and spaghetti because they’re such a staple food and can be super versatile.
- Tinned tomatoes, again because they’re so versatile.
- Cereal when it’s on offer which it often is.
- Tea, coffee and long life milk.
- Biscuits are something that Mr Frugal always pops in because he loves a good biscuit himself.
- Olive Oil is something I pop in every now and again because a lady I spoke to from the food bank once told me it was something that they loved getting as it can help with cooking – at £1 ish for a small bottle though I often stick to the cheaper items as I feel like I can get more for my money if you know what I mean.
If you wanted to add a few bits into your weekly shop then I don’t think you can go far wrong with the above but obviously, your local food bank can tell you exactly what they need though if you reach out to them directly. Here’s the list that is on our local food bank’s website:
Also, I should say that I don’t buy everything that’s on my recommended list every time I go shopping but I do always consciously make an effort to buy some bits. We all know our own budget and I get that your own family must come first but if you have anything spare then your donations are always very well received
Christmas is a time when even more people rely on a food bank to help them get through the month and there are so great campaigns to help raise awareness of this. My lovely friend Jen has been sharing her reverse advent calendar for a few years now and last year, the UK Money Bloggers made the reverse advent calendar the focus of their Christmas campaign and more people than ever got involved.
I love the idea of the reverse advent calendar and for younger children, it’s such a great thing to do but now that my two are older, I just feel like we could be doing more. This year we’re making some Christmas Dinner food bank parcels which are going to include everything that’s needed for a Christmas Dinner other than the meat.
I’m starting early as I’d like to make around 10 parcels ideally – if not more – and I thought I’d share with you the things I was going to put in mine along with the approximate prices they start from.
A box of stuffing – 20p upwards
Gravy granules – 20p upwards
Tinned carrots – 20p upwards
Tinned peas – 21p upwards
Tinned potatoes – 20p upwards but I usually buy the 50p ones for the food bank
Smash – 90p upwards
Yorkshire Pudding batter mix – 75p
Shortcrust pastry mix – 75p
Mincemeat – 75p upwards
Either a Birds trifle or a value Christmas pud with custard – £2
I’m on the fence about cranberry sauce (75p upwards) as I’m not sure if anyone in the world ever eats it!
There’s also crackers and selection boxes and all sorts of other things that I could add in but I don’t want to go mad when I know there are more sensible things I could buy.
My local food bank do Christmas parcels like this and the thought of making Christmas that little bit better for a family makes me very happy. I’ll keep you updated with my progress….
Also, just so you know, when I first started buying tinned veg for the food bank, I did a search to make sure it was healthy and I was pleased to see that tinned fruits and vegetables are just as good nutritionally as fresh or frozen vegetables are.
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