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Creative Ways Food Banks are Dealing with Donation Shortages

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The pandemic-induced inflation is now affecting food banks. Many of these organizations have resorted to buying groceries because of donation shortages. What’s worse is that food banks are buying essentials at high prices.

The Trussell Trust said all the food in emergency parcels came from donations. This was before the pandemic. 13% of these perishables are now bought.

One reason for this is donations don’t always match the essential items needed. This means charities have to buy them to cover what’s lacking.

The dearth of donations isn’t surprising. The Trussell Trust said there was a 54% increase in emergency food parcels given out in England’s North East. This was for 2022 to 2023.

The same thing happened to food banks in County Durham and Sunderland. They supplied food to around 2,000 individuals at the start of 2022. But those numbers went up to over 4,000 by March this year. Over a third of those emergency parcels went to children.

Jonathan Conlon of County Durham said the increase in prices had a big effect on donations. The distribution manager revealed there were fewer food donations going to their warehouses. But more people are now using food banks.

It’s a situation that’s repeated all over the UK. For instance, the Living Well food bank bought over £5,000 in groceries in April. But the organization used to run only on food donations pre-COVID. Even households with working members are now forced to go to food banks.

The good news is people with community spirit are thinking of creative solutions. One of them is Paul McMurray. The software engineer developed and created the Donation Genie website. It shows items specific food banks need. A visitor can enter an area’s name or postcode and the site will show the nearest food banks. It will also show what items they need.

McMurray said he wants to mix the kindness of people with technology. This will help get the right food to the right households.

There’s also a shift in what communities are considering as luxury items. The Bensham Court retirement complex gives away sausages as bingo prizes.

One apartment in the complex was also turned into an emergency food bank. It’s a move that has benefited most of its residents, who are all over 50 years of age. What’s more, residents are growing food in a space allotted for them on the grounds.

One social worker said these activities give residents financial and health benefits. It also helps them become resilient.

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