Despite being the sixth richest country in the world, the UK’s food poverty rate is among the highest in Europe. Britain’s most vulnerable are in serious financial difficulty. This is a problem that has undoubtedly been worsened by the global health crisis, with millions on furlough, many facing pay cuts, a rise in unemployment and an extremely tough job market. Whilst the government has offered a £20 boost to Universal Credit, keeping nearly 700,000 out of poverty, this has not been enough to keep some families afloat, especially with its two-child limit.
A survey by the Centre for Social Injustice (2020) has highlighted that more than a million of the UK’s poorest individuals are regularly struggling to afford food and are facing serious financial difficulties. More than a third of the poorest households with annual incomes below £16,999 have, on occasion, found it difficult to afford food, whilst a fifth find this to be a common issue. In the UK, independent food banks reported a near 200% increase in the need for emergency food packages compared with last year’s figures.
Whilst we prepare for the festive season, we must not forget about those who require our help to stay fed, alive and well. Here’s how you as an individual can help:
- In the UK, donations to food banks are needed more than ever before. The Trussell Trust is a great charity that supports a nationwide network of foodbanks, providing emergency food and support to those stuck in poverty. There will always be somewhere seeking donations – if you go to their website, you can find a nearby food bank with a list of required items. Independent food banks also exist outside of the Trussell Trust, these are usually run by local churches or charities so do a bit of digging within your local community. Non-perishable items are usually the best donations.
- Volunteer at your local food bank or soup kitchen. There are so many ways to get involved and this can easily be adapted to suit your work schedule - whether it’s just for a couple of hours or a full day. Volunteering might mean cooking meals in bulk to send out to families, making up food packages, sorting through donations, delivering food, or just having a friendly chat with someone over a warm drink and a biscuit.
- Financial donations are another great way to assist those in need. One-off donations to charitable organisations are great, but regular donations are even better if this is something you are in a financial position to do.
- With Christmas parties off the table this year, why don’t you and your team donate the money that would normally be spent on a night out? Or, take on a challenge like climbing a mountain to do some fundraising! The opportunities are endless.
Whilst we cosy up by the fire with a full belly this festive season, it’s important not to forget about those who most need our help. At Healthy Nibbles, we donate any stock that is nearing expiry to the Trussell Trust in order to reduce food wastage and combat food poverty in the UK. What will you be doing to help this festive season?