Is our foodbank getting it right on non-food?

31st May 2017

Do you wonder why foodbanks don’t all do the same thing? West Cheshire Foodbank focuses on giving food in exchange for vouchers brought to us by people in need. We have a nutritionally balanced food list that we advertise and we give from what is donated. In fact we get given a whole range of donations and we give out what we can as extra above the food on our shopping lists.

What about toiletries and sanitary goods? Why not request them and make them available to people in need in our community? There is no doubt that these items would bring relief to many in need. We are sure that our generous supporters would donate what we ask for and, over time, we could balance the incoming to ensure that we would not run out of food.

We have been trying to solve this one and some of our sessions have been trying it out. Here’s our experience:

  • Our distribution centres have limited space for storage and so we are restricted on what range we can hold
  • Toiletries are an extra weight on top of already heavy shopping bags for people to take away
  • Sanitary goods and loo paper are bulky to take with heavy shopping bags
  • Some sessions are shared with other venue users and so making items available for people to discretely take them is often not possible
  • The range of sanitary items is restricted and people don’t like to ask what is available

We are working on solutions. Probably we need more volunteers to come forward and help us to increase the number of Meeting Places where we can offer a wider range of support. It would mean that people would come to more than one session and be able to carry what we can give and it would not put pressure on the storage that is limited right now.

The good news is that we have a development plan and that we are sure we can become the support in all of West Cheshire that will meet immediate need and help people to transition to be out of food poverty.

Please comment on our social media or by e-mail. We want to know your views.

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