Food banks work with frontline professionals to identify people who need support and give them a food bank voucher. These professionals include local agencies like children’s centres, housing associations, advice charities, and mental health teams, who are best placed to assess need.
Once someone has been referred, they can exchange their voucher at their nearest food bank for an emergency food parcel containing a minimum of three days’ nutritionally balanced food.
Food banks are designed to provide short-term, emergency support with food during a crisis. They aim to relieve that immediate pressure by providing food, but also offer additional support so that people don’t need to use the food bank again in the future.
How to get help from a food bank
Call our free helpline
If you’re in financial crisis and live in England or Wales, please call 0808 2082138 for free (open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) to talk confidentially to a trained Citizens Advice adviser. They will talk to you about the problems you’re facing and provide support to help you manage your money, navigate the benefits system, and identify any other grants you might be entitled to. If you need one, they’ll issue you with a food bank voucher so you can get an emergency food parcel.
Get in touch with your nearest food bank
Your local food bank will be able to tell you which referral agencies they work with in your area and how you can get a voucher.