ThinkFoodBank | Voices of Change

Here at What Can We Do? (WCWD) we strive to promote a better and fairer world through civic engagement, and that is why we launched the Voices of Change guest blog series.

We want to amplify the voices of a variety of different charities, community groups and individuals from home and abroad. We highlight how COVID-19 has impacted them, how kindness plays a role in what they do, how people can get involved to support them and what the ideal future looks like.

Our special guests today are Maisie Benson and Holly Kielty, founders of ThinkFoodBank, discussing their work reminding people to support their local food banks through the medium of colourful stickers!

Tell us a bit about yourselves and ThinkFoodBank.

ThinkFoodBank is a movement created by Maisie Benson (left) and Holly Kielty (right). We both work in the creative industry, Maisie as a designer and Holly as a copywriter & strategist, and have been following each other for a while on Instagram – although we've never actually met in real life! 

We're both passionate about the amazing work that food banks do for the community, and felt there was more that supermarkets could do to signpost food banks in store before the checkout where it's too late.

We had both, independently of each other, written to supermarkets about this issue and had no response, so we decided to take the matter into our own hands!

We've created simple stickers to remind shoppers to donate. These can be stuck on trolleys, baskets and on shelves as small reminders to donate throughout the shop.

We also colour-coded the stickers to match a number of the UK's biggest supermarkets, so they wouldn't feel out of place in-store.

"The stickers boast catchy slogans related to the food items they depict; for example a heart shaped jam on toast emblazoned with “spread the love,” a bowl of rice saying “be nice, buy rice twice” and the piece de resistance “don’t forgetti, donate spaghetti”." - It's Nice That

It means more sales for supermarkets and more donations for food banks so an all round win-win!

Why are you doing it?

The issue seemed quite straight forward: food banks needed more donations but the customer journey through supermarkets didn’t act to remind people to pick up extra items - you only see food bank communications after it’s too late and you’ve checked out.

Our stickers are just a little reminder to the shopper, at a shelf or on a trolley, to 'think food bank' before it’s too late!

Our aim is very simple and I think that's what makes the campaign so effective. All we want is more donations for food banks, and we know people are willing to donate; they just simply aren't being reminded at the right time!

What impact has COVID-19 had on the issue of hunger in the UK?

The Trussell trust estimates that the need for food banks will increase by up to 61% over winter, with one food parcel being given out every 9 seconds due to people’s economic uncertainty and ongoing job losses across the country.

People are also behaving differently in supermarkets - getting in and out quickly, buying more strategically.

But COVID-19 and Marcus Rashford’s campaign to feed children has also highlighted the need for us all to be more empathetic, and that has shown in the way people have responded to the movement.

Why is tackling this issue and supporting food banks important to you personally?

Holly has had a lot of exposure to the plight of food banks as she's worked on the Beauty Banks campaign and has got relatives who work for food banks up north.

We both feel it's so unjust that anyone should need to use food banks, but in the immediate future it’s also daft that an opportunity for the food banks to benefit is being missed.

Why should other people consider it important?

The fact is we won’t get through the COVID-19 crisis or it’s aftermath without a greater understanding of each other’s circumstances.

Kindness and small acts of generosity count for so much, and simply making sure the vulnerable don’t go hungry is just vital to the health of our nation generally.

Food is a basic human right and unfortunately our society as it is, isn't currently allowing every person to access food as they should be able to.

How can people support what you're doing?

Follow us on on Twitter and Instagram as @thinkfoodbank to help spread the word!

If anyone would like a set of stickers to put in their local store, they simply need to message us with their postal address and we just ask for postage and packaging.

People can also support us on our JustGiving page with donations for payments for P&P for the stickers.

What tips do you have for other people who are looking to support causes close to their hearts in creative ways?

This project came about very organically from a shared mutual passion, I’d say go with your gut, bounce ideas off of other like-minded people and think a little laterally!

And have fun! Our tone is a little playful too because hopefully it’ll stand out in a world of doom and gloom.

It’s important to add a little magic to your thinking and remember that what you’re doing is a positive thing- and that’s so needed at a time like this.

More things you might like:

World Hunger: Did you know?

The Hunger Project | Voices of Change

How signing petitions makes a difference

Why we need Youth Activism

FEAST! | Voices of Change

Hospitality Action | Voices of Change

Have some more time to give? Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and at our website for more inspiration.

Do you want to be our next guest blogger for our Voices of Change blog series or want to write for our Spotlight series? Please get in touch.

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