Bread of Hope provides physical food by supplying a local food bank with what it needs the most.

(During the pandemic, we have been unable to assist the food bank as we normally would. Nonetheless, since the food bank needs empty egg boxes – to distribute the eggs sourced from the restaurant sector, which come in huge boxes – we have been able to collect almost 100 egg boxes from our immediate neighbours.)

Normally, by supplying these needs any costs incurred by the food bank to store or dispense with surplus are mitigated. This also helps to ensure that the food bank can continue to provide a balanced diet. Its service users – “customers” as they are called – are assessed (by their GP, Citizens Advice, etc.) for eligibility, and are often subject to: benefit delays; benefit sanctions; mental health issues; etc.

As a rule of thumb, the charity finds itself supplying products that are a source of calcium. During 2019 the charity provided 549 tins of rice pudding (2018: 534), 162 tins of custard (2018: 186), and 456 litres of UHT milk (2018: 361). The charity also supplied 1,921 tins of other food (2018: 1,341).

All this requires spending time: 1) at the food bank in order to assess those needs; and 2) sourcing supply to meet those needs as economically as possible. Spending time at the food bank also entails listening to and building relationships with its service users. We believe that poverty is best addressed by relationships, which is why we don’t just throw money at the food bank.