How to Start a Food Bank for Your Local Community?

Do you know what are food banks? These are organised charity systems that donate food to needy people. For someone who wants to start a charity organisation, going for a food bank donation system can be great if you know the purpose of food bank. You can either support your local food bank and if there aren’t enough, you can create one of your own. However, the real question is how to start a food bank for your local community because it is not as simple as it seems.

You must start with a plan, attract donors and create a trustable source to bring food to the tables of those who can’t afford it. Food banks usually rely on charities and donations like a regular nonprofit startup.  

How to Start a Food Bank?

If you wonder why are food banks so important, you must look at the number of homeless people who can’t afford to eat food. Stats show that around 700 people died homeless in England and Wales last year.

You need to understand your locality and check the situation of food insecurity and food poverty. It will not just motivate you to work in this field but also help you understand what scale you should start your business on.

You need to start with a plan for your food bank just like any other business. You have to determine your mission and goals with a solid plan to attain those goals.

Start by determining your budget, the marketing strategies to get more donations, and find out how can you reach out to needy people.

Steps to Start a Food Bank

To get started with your own non-profit organisation that offers food, you will have to follow some steps. Here we have explained in detail how to start a food bank UK.  

Research The Food Bank Market

The first step before getting your hands into any matter is proper research. If you don’t have enough knowledge on the matter, you can neither plan well, nor take the right decisions. The first step is to understand the market and learn how nonprofit business startups work. Check the local regulations for the food banks in your area before starting. Study the stats about homelessness, hunger and poverty in the respective place where you want to start up.

Choose Your Particular Food Bank Niche

If you have a large budget and you manage to win more donors, you can start a general food bank that would offer food to everyone eligible. The eligibility criteria can be defined by keeping in mind the status of the needy. If your budget is limited and you want to focus on one niche of food bank system, you must choose it at the start. Here are some ideas that you can go for besides the general food bank. You can pick one or more depending on your preference.

Food bank for Children

You can create a food bank where the eligibility criteria will be an age less than 18. Anyone who is a child and can’t afford food can get food from your centre.

Food bank for Homeless

You can start this system for only the homeless people. So if someone can afford a home to live in, they will not be eligible for the food that you offer at your charity donation system.

Food bank for People with Special Diet

People with different medical conditions might not be able to afford the food for their special needs. Some are allergic to gluten and some are vegan, however, such foods can be really expensive so offering it in your foodbank can be really helpful for people in need.

Food bank for Pets

Some people can’t afford food for their pets so if you open up this organisation, you will be able to offer food to owners of pets who can’t eat otherwise. There are many lost and abandoned pets who need food to survive and such food banks can help them sleep with a full belly.

Start With Your Plan

You will first have to create a plan where you can decide how will you start, where can you attract donors and how will you execute the whole idea. When you have researched the market and contacted the local food banks, you will have an idea about the number of needy people in the area. You will have to create a strategy to reach out to people who can be your potential donors. How can you spread awareness on the matter and convince those who have money to help people who can’t even eat once a day. Your plan will be the final answer to how to start a food bank.  

Arrange Your Food Supply

It is also an important step to understand where will you get your food supply from in order to learn how to start a food bank. Once you have the donations and eligible receivers, you will need a practical way of arranging food. Here are some ways through which you can bring food to your shelves and ensure a smooth flow in your food bank.

Food Drives

Food drives can be an effective way to collect food from different donors and offer it to needy people. You will have to start the food drive with proper marketing so it attracts more and more donations and you can help maximum people with food. Such drives allow the community members to offer what they can. This way the local businesses, churches and individuals can donate groceries and food items to your organisation from time to time.

Food Rescue

Most restaurants waste all the surplus food at the end of each day but if you reach on time and rescue the food, this potential waste can be really helpful for the hungry. For this, you will have to contact the restaurants, local farmer’s markets, and grocery stores to donate the leftovers for poor people. Such food rescue missions can be really helpful to learn how to start a food pantry by yourself.

Purchasing Food

The purpose of food banks is to bring food to the table of poor people, if other options are not enough, you will have to buy grocery items to offer at your food bank for those who can’t afford them. You can purchase in bulk from Farshare to get hugely discounted prices for your foodbank charity and offer food to the homeless.

Select a Food Distribution Method

Now that you have food, you will need a system to distribute it among the needy. Mostly food bank systems have two options available for the receivers as mentioned below.


In this method, you will have to deliver the food package selected by the receiver at their given location through your driver.

Pick up

The pickup option allows the receiver to get the selected items from your given location.

Setting Up Online Food Bank Platform

The most important part of your food bank is the online charity platform where all the processes will actually take place. You can get a perfect bespoke food bank information system where you can offer food for eligible receivers. This platform must be functional, smooth, and efficient for an elevated user experience. You can only rely on an authentic food bank information system provider such as Intelicle where you can get help to figure out how to start a food bank.

Final Word

You can easily start a food bank if you follow the right direction and create a proper plan. You will have to create a plan to collect enough donations and start a smoothly working charity donation system. Learning how to start a food bank is even easier when you pinpoint the main challenges facing foodbank and overcome them. Executing the plan of your own nonprofit business setup can be easier if there is a digital platform tailored for your requirements where the receivers and donors can easily offer donations and request a food bank package. If you can’t start your own food bank, the least you can do is to support your local food banks and thus help the poor for inner satisfaction.

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