Last month's election results are fresh in many of our minds, and no matter what your political beliefs are there is no denying that the last 9 years have seen massive cuts across many industries leaving many families struggling. Here are some ideas for how to help those in need no matter what your budget is.
How to help those in need with Food banks
Food banks are particularly close to my heart because when I was 13 years old we were homeless for 6 months and used a church food bank. My mum ran food banks when we lived in South Africa and then once we were on our feet again she started a couple in England.
Knowing first hand the impact that a food bank can have pushes me to donate more.
Food banks regularly need:
- Tinned tomatoes/ pasta sauce
- Lentils, beans and pulses
- Tinned meat
- Tinned vegetables
- Tinned fruit
- UHT milk
- Fruit juice
I also like to donate a few treats to the food bank too like biscuits, sweets etc.
You can donate to a food bank in a variety of ways:
- Leave a donation at the supermarket collection points
- Ask your local food bank to collect
- With your online Ocado shop – £2.50 per donation
- One off donations
- Donate through your PAYE
What to do if you can’t afford food bank donations
If you want to donate to food banks but you don’t have room in your budget then here are a few ideas for ways you can help.
Go through your cupboards for unopened, in date food you won’t use or won’t miss to donate.
Use cashback apps like Shopmium and Checkout Smart to get free items to donate to your local food bank.
Volunteer your time to help out at the food bank.
Arrange a food bank collection point in your workplace, children’s school etc.
The Toiletry Amnesty is a wonderful idea for helping you to donate your unwanted toiletries, both new and partially used.
You know how it is – you get gift sets for Christmas but you will never use the body lotion, or you don’t like the scent of the products. Or you buy a new product, try it and find out it isn’t for you.
Instead of them going to waste you can donate them using the Toiletry Amnesty.
The Toiletry Amnesty is a directory of places across the world who accept toiletries for various needs. It isn’t just food banks using the Toiletry Amnesty – lots of organisations do good work.
What’s great about the directory is that you can search based on whether they accept partially used toiletries or not.
If you know of, or are an organisation that can make use of the Toiletry Amnesty then register to be added to the directory.
Donate to Hostels
There are all sorts of hotels around, from homeless hostels to ‘halfway houses’.
The majority of people who are in hotels have arrived with their belongings in a bag – and sometimes even without any belongings at all. That means that anything at all would be useful to someone in a hostel.
Think about clothing, kitchen and homewares, toiletries and so much more.
The easiest way to find a hostel that accepts donations near you is to ask on your local Facebook groups.
The hostel we donate decluttered, useful items to is a young people’s hostel and everything gets taken by someone who needs it.
There are also night shelters looking for donations, especially over winter.
If you shop on Amazon then Smile Amazon is a great way to give back without it costing you a penny more.
Before making a purchase on Amazon simply visit www.smile.amazon.co.uk first and choose a charity to benefit.
Amazon will then donate a portion of your purchase to your chosen chairty.
All charities have received £2,382,268.78 as of November 2019, just from people visiting Smile Amazon first.
Volunteering is a great way to help those in need no matter what your budget. The only thing that volunteering costs is your time.
You can volunteer at a food bank, night shelter, hostel, soup kitchen and so many more places.
Where to get help if you are struggling
If you are facing financial difficulties then here are some places to get help from.
If you need help with an emergency food parcel then you can get a referral to a Trussell Trust food bank.
You might also have an independent food bank close to you which doesn't need a referral
If you are in debt then you can get free, impartial advice from the following places:
- National Debtline – 08088084000
- StepChange – 08001381111
- Christians Against Poverty – 01274 760720
- Citizen's Advice – 03444 111 444
Please don't feel hopeless when it comes to paying off debt. We managed to pay off £15,000 worth of credit card debt a few years ago whilst I earned a very small wage and Tony was unemployed.
If you are looking for debt advice without the jargon then Debt Camel is the website for you. For everything from refunds to understanding CCJs, you will find plenty of no-nonsense debt advice.