Foodbanks distribute food parcels to families or individuals in need.
Non-perishable in-date food is donated by the public at a range of places. People who are in crisis are identified by referral agencies, and issued with a foodbank voucher. This entitles them to receive a food bank parcel of three days’ nutritionally balanced food. Generally, an individual will be issued with up to three vouchers in any six month period, but there is some flexibility on this based on circumstances. Referral agents include advice centres, doctor’s surgeries, healthcare professionals, Women’s Aid, Simon Community, PSNI and various local faith organisations, advice and voluntary agencies.
The foodbanks operating in Northern Ireland are a combination of independent church-based food banks and charitable organisations. Trussell Trust food banks has this biggest presence in Northern Ireland, but other independent services may be available.
Trussell Trust works with churches and communities to manage foodbanks nationwide. Their interactive map helps locate your nearest foodbank. To find a Trussell Trust foodbank in your area use their interactive map to help locate it at https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/.
Food banks also offer a lot more than just food. Volunteers meet clients over a warm drink and a chat, and can signpost people to other charities and agencies who can help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis.