Foodbanks are set up and designed to help individuals and families in crisis to access free emergency food usually for three days.

Food can be donated by members of the public either directly to the foodbank or at a collection point e.g. local supermarket or businesses and delivered to the foodbank where it is “banked” in a store. Referral agencies such as Social Services, Health Visitors, Probation Officers and Church Pastoral Workers issue food vouchers which can be exchanged for emergency food and toiletries. 

Many churches set up a foodbank in association with the Trussell Trust because they offer a toolkit, training and support for your foodbank initiative.

Before setting up a foodbank it is important to consider the following:

  • if you are thinking of setting up a foodbank it is important to contact your insurance provider to check that you would be covered and whether any restrictions will apply;
  • if you are hosting the foodbank in the church premises it is advisable to restrict this to one area of the building and prevent access to other main areas;
  • remove any valuable property from the foodbank area;
  • ensure that food is stored out of view from the public;
  • ensure that all non-perishable food is regularly rotated and kept within date;
  • if you do handle perishable food it needs to be within its sell by date and you must adhere to food hygiene standards – see food hygiene and kitchens.

For more information on the Trussell Trust visit