What Do Food Banks Do?


Editors Harriet Martin and Amy Picknell had the opportunity to visit one of Southampton City Mission’s Food Banks last week to find out a bit more about the service. 

Southampton City Mission is a Christian charity who provide emergency food and clothing to those in need across Southampton. Their ‘Basics Banks’ have been operating since 1996 and give out provisions to those who have been referred by charities, doctors, homeless hostels, the Salvation Army etc.

They offer a Food Bank service from 10am-3pm every weekday in different locations across the city and a Clothes Bank on Mondays. Every Basics Bank is run by volunteers and all the food and clothing is donated by churches, schools, supermarkets and members of the public.

Credit: Harriet Martin

Clients must arrive with evidence of referral, usually in the form of a voucher, but the bank supervisors will not turn anyone away and do their best to ensure that you are referred and can access the service. Those that utilise the Basics Banks are not all homeless – in fact, most clients are from struggling low-income families. The volunteers provide those in need with about 5 days’ worth of food, including fresh produce, and clients can visit the Food Bank on a maximum of 6 occasions in a 12 month period.

The work that these volunteers do is truly incredible and makes a huge difference to the lives of those in need throughout the local area. There are a large number of low-income families across Southampton and we are already aware of the growing number of people sleeping rough on the city’s streets so free services like the Basics Banks provide an invaluable service.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next article in the Homelessness Series when our Features Editor Amy Picknell gives a personal account of our visit to the Swaythling Methodist Church Food Bank.

More articles in Homelessness
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  2. Homelessness Survey: The Results
  3. The Homeless Period
  4. Homelessness: What Can We Learn From Finland?
  5. What Can Students Do to Help the Homeless?
  6. An Interview with Steve Fletcher from Homeless Charity: ‘Above Us Only Sky?’
  7. Homelessness: Miracle Messages
  8. Local Council to Receive £400,000 to Help the Homeless
  9. What Do Food Banks Do?
  10. Swaythling Methodist Church Food Bank
  11. The Megabite Scheme: Helping the Homeless Without Giving Money
  12. New Pret A Manger on Highfield Campus Helping the Homeless

Investigations Editor 2016/17. BA Spanish student, aspiring journalist and avid blogger (harriet-martin.com).

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