Do you have a spare 50p? I am sure most of us could spare 50p a week, if not more. I am asking you to simply buy something for your local food bank if you can. Today I have visited ours as I was donating some things, more about that later, and it really made me think about how I can help and you can too.

Cans of food including soup and tomatoes

What do food banks do?

Food banks, put simply, help the poorest in our society. This does not mean only people on benefits and it does not mean only people who do not have their own home.

The image above is the amount of food a family of 3/4 would receive weekly from the food bank. They also can have pasta, bread, sauces, UHT milk, toilet rolls and toiletries but it all depends on what has been donated. An individual living alone would receive the items (or similar) in the image below along with the same extras depending on donations.

Cans of food on black countertop

Food banks help those who need it most, whether that be someone who has a mortgage and a full-time good job but suddenly finds themselves unemployed and struggling to make ends meet or someone who has always needed benefits and live in a council property.

Whatever the reason you are struggling to feed yourself or your family they are there to help. They can provide things like cleaning products, toilet rolls, sanitary products and such too if they have enough donations.

Items on white surface ready for food bank

How to get referred to a food bank

If you feel that you need the help of a food bank or know someone who does then referral can be from a number of places including your local benefits office or a social worker. Other agencies such as the police, a health visitor, your GP or even citizens advice can help too.

Items ready for food bank in black cardboard box
out of date donated items in black tray and some cartons of UHT milk available to top up the bags described above for people in need at the local food bank

If you are on social media then contacting your local food bank to ask who can refer you may help as each area will have slight differences. Please do not be ashamed of needing this support it is there to help you. The lady running my local food bank tells me that when needed they deliver items if someone is really struggling with the idea of visiting themselves.

Bags of pasta and jars of sauce on white surface
donated items available to top up the bags described above for people in need at the local food bank

What have I donated today and who has helped me?

Today I have donated a selection of gifts and toys pictured to the local foodbank ready for Christmas and have more to take over coming weeks. I aim to ensure every child they support has at least one present this Christmas.

So many children in our town must get spoilt rotten for Christmas but also many will be going without. These children could be in the same class at school. I personally believe all children (religion permitting) should have a gift to open at Christmas and wanted to help.

The below are items I have taken today for them to store ready for Christmas and I will take more next week. Imagine worrying that you can only afford something from the pound shop for your child then finding you can give them a magic set for example?

Selection of toys on black background for food bank
Selection of this weeks donations from Just Average Jen

As regular readers of my blog will be aware I write Christmas gift guides (and mothers day etc too) to help you with ideas for those gifts you are really struggling to buy! As part of this, I work with brands who send me products to share with you and tell you my thoughts on as a suggested gift.

Whilst I keep some items for my family, close friends etc I donate a huge amount to charity. One year I took lots to a local temporary housing but this year I am helping the food bank and started with the donations above and below.

Selection of Swizzels sweets with black background

Swizzels kindly send all these sweets for the children at the food bank at Christmas, how lovely is that. When I told their press team what I am doing they donated all these so that no family at the food bank in our town should visit the food bank near Christmas and not leave with sweets for the kids. Each of those big bags is 3kg and contains loads more than the picture shows!

Huge thanks to Swizzels, Gibsons, Orchard toys, Cheatwell games, Geomag, and more! Watch out for more posts sharing amazing items to help the local kids have a fantastic Christmas. If you are a blogger why not join in and do it too?

How you can help too!

The lady who runs our local food bank says they rarely have fresh produce to give to those who need it but if you have an allotment, fruit tree, or chickens perhaps you could donate your surplus? Contact the food bank directly to arrange this as some are only open once a week.

Selection of items on black background for food bank

Is there anywhere local to you which has a collection point? Great things to donate to these points are dry foods, canned foods and toiletries or household items such as washing up liquid, soap or toilet rolls.

Next time you see a bargain could you add an extra one to your trolley to donate? Or a tin of 15p carrots? It might not sound a lot but if everyone did that once a week can you imagine the difference it could make?

Do you work in a shop which could donate unsold items? Our local Tesco donates their bakery items which are unsold at the end of the night. Our Morrisons has a trolley at the entrance full of bags with prices labelled on them of donations for the food bank.

You can simply pick up a bag labelled £1.26 and add it to your trolley, the items inside add up to that amount and can then be paid for with your own shopping then donated straight into the food bank trolley at the checkouts!

In the run-up to Christmas when you see toys on 3 for 2 or similar offers but can only see a few items you want, why not add another for the food bank. The children whose families are supported by the food bank may have no presents this Christmas.

Can you imagine that? Alternatively, can you imagine the heartbreak of only being able to buy your child a £1 colouring book for Christmas?

Bread and other items for food bank on table

When you have finished reading this post please share it online as far as you can. I would love to get more donations from other companies of items they would like me to share with you and also donate to local children.

Could you donate your time to help the local food bank? Contact them and ask. Whilst I was there today a lovely gentleman from a nearby village was dropping off items donated from a number of people in the village.

They have a village newsletter and once a week he collects bags from the doorsteps of anyone who wants to donate items and takes them directly to the food bank. Could you start up similar, or just see if something similar runs near you?

Pinterest pin with items for food bank
Pinterest pin of two children in coats standing on path

If you found this helpful please share!

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