Reports from the Trussell Trust indicate that food bank usage has risen exponentially since the start of the pandemic – with an 89% increase in the number of emergency food parcels given out in April 2020, compared to the year before.
As 90% of these food parcels consist of food donated by the public, it is often difficult for food banks to ascertain that they will be able to cater to different dietary needs. What this means is that vegans in crisis are reliant on the support of their community for adequate provision. Here are some suggestions on how you may be able to help those most in need:
Drop off ambient goods at your local supermarket drop-off point
Ambient foods which are shelf-stable and can be kept in cupboards can be of great use to people who may not have access to fridge/freezers. If you’re thinking of contributing to a food bank, tinned beans and pulses and UHT plant milk, are good options to include and are particularly helpful to those who may not have sufficient cooking equipment. Canned products like chickpeas, for example, are often ready to eat once drained, whilst others like lentils require little cooking equipment and can often be heated on the hob.
Contribute to community fridges
Community fridges not only help prevent food waste but allow you to share your own perishable food with the local community, including those in need – it’s also a great way to find out more about local activities and strengthen community bonds. Check out Hubbub to find your local community fridge and other ways to get involved.
Consider virtual volunteering
During the month of November, Tesco will be supporting FareShare with it’s annual food collection – if you’re unable to help with donations, a great way to still get involved is to help raise awareness through social media. Spread the word with your friends and family and encourage them to donate.
If you are in need of support
Whilst some food banks don’t need a referral, the majority of them require food bank vouchers in order to be able to use them.
Please contact your local council, GP or Citizens Advice Bureau to receive a referral to an emergency food parcel.
The Vegan Society are currently working on establishing a network of support for vegans in financial need - keep an eye out on our campaign pages for further news. For informal support, please contact campaigns[at]vegansociety[dot]com
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.