How you can donate to local food banks as a Norwich student

15.1 per cent of Norfolk’s children are defined as living in low income families

After the Labour plan to extend free school meals until Easter 2021 was rejected by Parliament last week, with a majority of 61, people have been left concerned for the welfare of children over the half term, and the Christmas holidays.

1.3 million children are eligible for free school meals during term-time, but most rely on charities for food come the holidays. FareShare, a food charity which last year provided meals to over 43,000 vulnerable children, says coronavirus has made the situation worse. Many families have been pushed into financial hardship and a further 1.4 million families have applied for Universal Credit.

A 2016 report found 15.1 per cent of Norfolk’s children (under 16s) were defined as living in low income families. Across Norfolk this value varies by district with Broadland having the lowest rate, 8.9 per cent, and Norwich, 22.3 per cent, the highest rate.

Fortunately, as students living in Norwich, there are measures we can take to help. Food donations can be made to food banks and supermarkets all over the city.

On their website, Norwich Foodbank provides their shopping list. You can pick up some extra items when you do your own shop for as little as 30p – there’s no maximum or minimum product donation. Items in red are those they currently need the most.

Alternatively, you can arrange a food collection near you – posters and help are available. If you’re interested, email [email protected]

You can also help at a supermarket collection. Asda, Co-op, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose across Norwich hold food bank collection events. To find out more, email [email protected]

Financial donations are also welcome and can be made online here. Alternatively, fundraisers are a great way to make a donation, especially if you’re part of a university club or society. Email Norwich Foodbank at [email protected] for ideas and advice.

We spoke to a volunteer at The Trussell Trust Norwich Food Bank on Ivy Road, just off Bowthorpe Road. It’s a 20 minute walk from UEA, and just three minutes by car. Donations can be dropped off in crates or bags by the front door.

The volunteer said: “In lockdown, Tesco donated £1.4 million to The Trussell Trust which was very generous, but donations are always needed”.

Right now, the food bank is particularly in need of “long-life sponge puddings, rice puddings and tinned custard”. Ideally with a ring pull, as not everyone will be in “permanent accommodation with a kettle, never mind a can opener”.

Food banks are currently in need of long-life puddings