Many wonderful people support Swindon Foodbank by donating food to us. Perhaps you are one of them. If so - thanks!
But have you ever wondered what happens to that tin of beans after you drop it into the collecting trolley at the supermarket? Well - read on...
At the supermarket...
On our supermarket collection days the generous people of Swindon donate an average of 1.5tonnes of food, all selected from the shopping lists that are handed out. These tins, boxes and packets get taken by the Swindon Foodbank van back to the Warehouse.
At the Warehouse our volunteers get to work.
Round 1 - first they sort the food into categories - Pasta, Biscuits, Cereals, Soup, etc.
Round 2 - next the food is sorted by the expiry date of each product. Any foods which are out of date are removed. About 5-10% of donated stock is unfortunately unusable due to being out of date.
Most of the items are boxed up by year. Some items, such as long life milk, are boxed up by month. Boxes of tea bags are opened up and re-bagged into amounts of 40 bags.
Labelled up boxes - such as Biscuits 2012 or Milk Mar-11 are then stacked up on the Storage racking.
Round 3 - Now the foodboxes are assembled. Each foodbox is created to contain food for 3 days either for a single person, a couple, or a family. The food is taken in date order - so that food which is earliest in expiry date is selected first , and is selected from pre-determined lists. For example, a box for a family with two children would contain:
| 6 tins of beans
||4 packets of biscuits
||2 packets of cereal
|1 carton long life milk
||2 cartons fruit juice
||4 tins of fish
|3 tins of meat
||3 tins of fruit
||2 tins/packets of mashed potato
|2kg of pasta or rice
||1 jar/packet of pasta sauce
||2 tins of pudding
|4 tins of soup
||2 tins of spaghetti
| 3 tins of tomatoes
||3 tins vegetables
Round 4 - the assembled foodboxes are transported to a Distribution Centre. Currently our main distribution point is The Rainbow Centre in the town centre. Here they await distribution to Clients. Our volunteers typically put together between 30 and 40 Foodboxes per week.
A box of any ‘miscellaneous extras’ is also taken to the Distribution Centre.
Round 5 - when Clients come in with a Foodbank voucher (given to them by one of our Partners) they are given the appropriate food box for their circumstances by yet more volunteers. The food is repacked in plastic shopping bags - that way the Client can leave with their bags of food like any other shopper, and not feel any stigma from receiving the food. Clients are also given a choice of one or two Miscellaneous Extras as well, whether that is cheesy biscuits or babyfood. And at Christmas we also put in some Christmas treats!
While waiting the Clients can sit and have a hot drink and a chat with volunteers ready to offer a listening ear.
Round 6 - the food is taken home and eaten!
All this is possible thanks to our fantastic volunteers, and all their work in the Warehouse and Distribution Centre. Thanks to them, and the food that many people across Swindon donate - on average 51 people are being fed each week who might otherwise be going hungry.