In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need food banks at all. As it stands, we do need them, and they also need us now more than ever.

In the midst of the chaos of Coronavirus, it is the vulnerable who are hit the hardest. Those who are on low incomes or who rely on food banks for regular food are the ones who will be hurt by needless stockpiling or selfish actions. If we have the privilege of enough money and a roof over our heads, we have to make sure we look out for each other.

Luckily, there’s a way we can help. Bankuet makes it easier for you to give food banks exactly what they need, when they need it, so they can help feed more people.

The problem

Currently, over 8 million people in the UK are defined as food insecure, meaning they struggle to put food on the table. This is the equivalent to the population of London. In 2018 it was reported that 16% of adults skip or have seen someone in their household skip meals, 14% worry about not having enough food to eat, and 8% have gone a full day without eating because of lack of money. A decade ago there were also only a handful of food banks, while there are now over 2000.

Put quite simply, this is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, with the uncertainty of a global pandemic leading to panic buying, food banks are also feeling the strain. Now, more than ever, it is our duty as human beings to look out for each other.

Today, if you can, please consider donating to a food bank. And if you’re in the UK and working from home, social distancing, or social isolating, don’t worry! Because you can donate from the comfort of your own home using Bankuet.

What is Bankuet?

Bankuet was designed to help food banks get the food they need, helping fight hunger across the UK, using the power of technology. They help you donate food without having to visit a supermarket, instead you can do everything with a few simple clicks.

Bankuet’s vision is simple: make it as easy as possible for food banks to efficiently get what they need, when they need it, and to make it easier for people to donate.

Bankuet only began in July 2019 but, by the end of the year, 15,168 items and 685 bundles were donated, helping ten food banks feed over 500 people.

While still an early stage startup, when at scale and fully operational Bankuet also plan to donate any additional profit to organisations tackling the root causes of food poverty.

How it works

Bankuet is incredibly easy to use: simply choose a food bank, then choose a specific item or bundle. On their find a food bank page you can enter your postcode to find the closest food bank to you (they don’t yet cover the whole UK, as the project is under a year old, but will be expanding in future). I chose Gateshead as it’s the closest to my home town, and chose a bundle. Bundle prices range from £10 – £100, and include the option to make your donation a regular subscription.

From here, Bankuet take care of everything else. They buy and deliver items at the time that is best for the food bank, saving them time and money.

Every item Bankuet delivers has been specifically requested by the food bank in question, as they send weekly updates, ensuring no donation goes to waste. The curated ‘Bankuet Bundles’ only contain essentials that food banks actually need, adding to items food banks sometimes have in excess and given away as part of a food parcel. For example: many food banks have years worth of pasta or baked beans, and don’t need to be sent more. Bankuet’s model ensures your money is spent where it is needed, getting essential food into people’s hands faster.

Items that are often requested include: cereal, tinned vegetables and meat, cooking sauces (pasta, curry), fruit juice, toiletries, household items (eg. washing up liquid), rice, long-life milk and baby items (nappies, food). Bankuet take advantage of multi-buys and bulk buying wherever possible, to ensure food banks get the maximum from each donation. Each bundle roughly equates to a certain number of items:

  • Mini: 5 – 10
  • Small: 10 – 20
  • Large: 30 – 55
  • Maxi: 55 – 85

By buying from Banquet, food banks also don’t need to spend money hiring a van to collect their donations from a supermarket. This helps them to save money, allocating more resources to their work and reducing emissions too. 

Ultimately everyone wins: food banks get the right supplies, people get to eat, and you don’t have to leave your home.

So if you’re at home right now and feeling helpless, this is something really tangible you can do today. The more people use Bankuet, the more it can expand to cover the UK. As we may be in for a rough few months ahead, this is the perfect time for those of us with financial privilege to show them all the support we can.

To learn more about Banquet and donate online, click here