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Food banks (sometimes spelt foodbanks), largely run by volunteers, provide emergency boxes of food (usually a supply for a minimum of three days) and offer support for people in a crisis. The food is donated by members of the local community.

Many also give personal hygiene items such as toilet paper and soap. Some may also be able to help with pet food.

Some foodbanks offer hot meals and advice sessions. They may also be able to refer you to other local agencies for further help, depending on your situation.

To get access to a food bank, you need a food bank voucher from a professional or organisation that the local food bank accepts referrals from. This might be a health or care professional or local organisation such as Citizens Advice.

The Trussell Trust is a charity that has a network of over 1,200 food banks across the UK.To find your local Trussell Trust food bank, use the Trussell Trust website, which also has information on how food banks work.

There are also around 800 independent food banks across the UK. See the Independent Foodbanks Network (IFAN) website for more information.

Read the I don't have enough to eat section of our Emergency Information guide