Find your local food bank through The Trussell Trust
When we first looked to help those in need, Meg Hillier – MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch – told us that food banks were seeing increased demand and needed resources, as well as financial donations. In some areas, use of food banks is up 89%. So we mobilised our network.
We’ve been able to safeguard food deliveries through our partnerships with suppliers such as Aldi and Creed. We’re providing more than 33,400 items to each food bank every week, where our people are giving their time in person. Their lessons from this time can inspire us all.
1. You can always make time to help others
“I think I’ve been guilty in the past of wanting to do more for others, but never finding the time to actually do it. As soon as I saw the email for this, I knew I’d love to be a part of it and replied straight away to ask to be involved.”
Even a small commitment can help others, adds Dan Haustead, who works in investment management in Bristol. “It’s often very easy to fall into the mind-set that the problems that society faces are too big for any of us individually to have an impact, but I’ve seen that small changes can make a great difference to someone living in poverty.”
Knowing how many people need help… puts any personal problems into perspective.
Paul Kerr, Belfast food bank volunteer and paraplanner
2. Social vulnerability is greater than you know
The sheer number of people affected by adversity will stay with our volunteers. “Seeing all of the parcels and bags of groceries lined up and ready to be distributed is very moving,” says Paul.
Dan agrees: “I think it’s so easy to live in a city like Bristol, or even anywhere in the UK, and not realise the vast levels of poverty that are so common in our communities. Food bank use has increased by 216% from pre-COVID levels and the work that they do to ensure that people do not go hungry is amazing.”
3. Collaborate to survive
Two thirds of recent food bank use has been driven by the coronavirus crisis and in Belfast food banks are collaborating with neighbouring services to meet the demand. “The SW Belfast food bank has seen the biggest increase in use since the crisis began so the centres communicate with each other and share supplies where they can.”
People are making sacrifices that go beyond what anyone should have to give up… situations can change so quickly.
Dan Haustead, Bristol food bank volunteer and trainee investment manager
4. Kindness begins at home
“This has already made me call and email my colleagues more often to see just how they are. I think this will make me a more caring person,” says Carole Anderson who works in our Edinburgh investment management team and schedules volunteering days for Investec employees at Fresh Start Housing. The charity has been providing emergency food packages during the pandemic.
Jay Ham of sustainability has seen more caring behaviour in others too. He describes the response from his colleagues as “rapid” and “meaningful”.
5. You could need a food bank too
However, it’s become clearer that any of us could find ourselves in desperate circumstances in the future.
“In lockdown all of us have inevitably had to make some sacrifices from our usual way of living. But so many people are making sacrifices that go beyond what anyone should have to give up,” says Dan. “Situations can change so quickly,” he adds. “We’ve heard stories from families who were well-placed before this crisis and then experienced job loss that led them to the food banks.”
“Losing a job, redundancy or splitting from a partner can all lead to poverty and it is very hard to get out of that situation and when you have nothing,” agrees Carole Anderson.
“This is where volunteers can help. If we can, we must.”
Investec's UK food bank initiative:
number of food items delivered each week per food bank
estimated increase in the number of people using a Bristol food bank during the coronavirus crisis
the number of food banks supported by Investec in the UK