A New Type of Food Bank

“The Bread and Butter Thing” is a network of food banks across the UK, but with an interesting twist. These centers not only distribute food but also serve as community connectors, offering a potential blueprint for similar initiatives.

Visiting any of the 90 hubs managed by The Bread and Butter Thing offers a surprise regarding the food you’ll take home. What’s certain, though, is the warm welcome you’ll receive, complete with engaging conversations and plenty of tea. Additionally, professionals are often available to provide guidance on employment opportunities, social housing, parenting, and mental health.

The food, ranging from salmon and celeriac to strawberries, is surplus from farms, factories, and supermarkets, all diverted from potential waste. This approach distinguishes it from traditional food banks.

With the efforts of The Bread and Butter Thing, over 100 tonnes of food are rescued from waste each week, translating to around one million meals a month. This initiative not only prevents waste but also helps its 45,000 members save more than £4.8 million annually.

The organization’s success is measured not just in significant figures but in its qualitative impact as well. It brings affordable, nutritious food to areas lacking fresh produce and fosters a sense of community through the sharing of healthy recipes. The goal is to effect enduring positive change in communities facing challenges.

Volunteers deliver the food using refrigerated vans. The food bank volunteers then unload everything and pack the food into bags. Each customer receives three bags for a total of £8.50. The actual value of the three bags is usually well over £35.

After receiving their bags, customers can sit, drink tea or coffee, and eat biscuits or cake provided. People are encouraged to stay and socialize. The Bread and Butter Thing frequently arranges for specialists to engage with the community on important topics such as mental health and social housing. Last year, the organization distributed complimentary tablets, enabling individuals to access the internet for job applications and to seek information on benefits.

This unique model has garnered recognition, earning The Bread and Butter Thing the Community Partnership of the Year award at the latest Global Good Awards. Launched in 2015, these awards celebrate entities worldwide that lead in sustainable, ethical, and purpose-driven initiatives.

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One Reply to “A New Type of Food Bank”

  1. What a wonderfully organized idea, meets so many criteria, hopefully this concept will spread globally to benefit all. A win win situation!


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