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BanktheFood urges Brits to use app to donate to food banks

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
High angle view of a cardboard box filled with multicolored non-perishable canned goods, conserves, sauces and oils shot on dark wooden background

Charity BanktheFood is calling on Brits to download its free app to help them connect with their local community and donate high-priority goods to food banks.

The app works by sending donors a real-time list explaining what essential items their closest food bank is looking for.

It also sends users a ‘ping’ reminder of what their local food bank is low on when they arrive at a supermarket – encouraging them to add an item to their shop and drop it off at the nearest donation station.

The food bank will then be alerted of the donation anonymously, helping them continuously track and locate the items they need.

Food banks’ social media posts and supermarket notices are often missed or cannot convey what donations are required in real-time, the charity says. This means there is often a disconnect between what food banks receive, and what they need.

The BanktheFood platform allows food banks to offer required food parcels.

The innovation is a new lifeline according to Natasha Copus from Southend Foodbank in Essex. “We provide three days of emergency food parcels – enough for three meals a day for three days. [This] means that we need different food to make up those meals and we are often short of certain items,” she says.

“The BanktheFood app makes it easier for people to know what we need when we need it.”

The items with the highest demand are likely to be long-lasting store cupboard foods as well as goods that don’t need to be heated up in an oven – helping food banks users to cut down on skyrocketing energy bills.

These items may include rice, pasta, lentils and pulses, tinned foods, dehydrated foods such as instant noodles, dried fruit, UHT and powdered milk, cereal, biscuits, tea and coffee, and spreads like marmite, honey, jam, or peanut butter.

Emma Spring, Co-founder of BanktheFood added: “It’s such a simple way to genuinely help the people around you who are struggling and need help now more than ever. The app means people using food banks get a balance of what they need.

“It would be great if everyone donated just one thing. Each donation will put food on someone’s table, possibly the same day.”

As well as supporting those facing food insecurity, the charity hopes the app will help consumers avoid and reduce household food waste.

While the number of people facing hunger and food poverty increases, food waste levels still remain high. A recent report from food systems campaign group Feedback EU revealed the bloc wastes more food than it imports. Food waste charity WRAP has also estimated that 1.1 million tonnes of food is wasted across supermarkets, restaurants, cafés and manufacturers in the UK.

In 2019 there were 5M people living in food poverty – many of which were children. Find out how teenagers are campaigning for children’s access to sustainable and healthy diets in this Food Matters Live podcast:

Food poverty – the teenagers fighting to be heard

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