There are several main food banks in Kent, and the aim of the not-for-profits is to feed the hungry and families facing poverty. The centres rely on donations from the community as well as volunteers to keep them operating, and as supplies last the distribution points provide hundreds of families with food parcels each month.
In order to use one of these centres, a voucher is needed, and they can be obtained from professionals in the community. When an individual has this, they can call a distribution point for hours or operation, or drop in if they live in the area. However the organisations do have limited capacity and resources available, so some people may not be awarded a box of free food.
The main not-for-profits in the Kent area include the Family Food Bank, Salvation Army church based centres, and also Trussell Trust locations. Each will do their best to offer groceries, a cup of team, free food parcels, breads, and other emergency assistance. Receiving help from one of these locations will allow the family to free up their income for other basic needs and household expenses, so try a site for assistance.
Free food and meals from charities in Kent
The Canterbury food bank has volunteers that not only offer advice on money problems, but they also provide a free emergency parcel of food. Clients will also be provided minor refreshments during their visit, such as tea or a very small, hot meal. Find more information on the food programmes in Canterbury for families on a low income.
Caring Hands in the Community – This organisation operates several services. There is a kitchen on site that serves hundreds of hot meals per week. The volunteers at the charity can also refer a family to one of the main food banks noted below, and provide advice on how to overcome a crisis. Find more information on the assistance from Caring Hands in the Community.
Catching Lives operates a drop in centre in Kent, and there may be free food as this charity. There is also a hot breakfast and lunch served to families on a low income and the homeless. Food is provided in Canterbury and other areas, and find services from Catching Lives.
London Bromley Borough serves residents in Kent. This location is part of the nationwide Trussell Trust foodbank network and they may pass out up to three days of emergency food. It may have soup, canned meats, and tea, among other items. Volunteers from across the borough work with restaurants and stores to collect the items for the box. Address is 111 Comandene Crescent St, Pauls Cray, Kent, BR5 2RB, or call 0208 302 7909.
There are two other Trussell Trust locations in the Kent County area, and they include the following. Avery Hill Christian Fellowship on Southspring Sidcup, phone 0793431350 as well as the Methodist Church in Ashford, and the telephone is 07504 629395. Both require a voucher to provide free food to the needy.
A place for a free hot meal is The Soup Bowl. The address is on Crescent Street, Tunbridge Wells. Volunteers from the community provide hot meals, including on Christmas, to the vulnerable and homeless. They can also provide referrals to a shelter if the individual needs housing, and this St Augustine’s Catholic Church sponsored group also has vouchers for food parcels.
The southeast portion of Kent has a free food bank too. This is located at Dover Baptist Church, and the address is 27-32 Maison Dieu Road. Volunteers sort and assemble the boxes, which may have only non-perishable items in them, tea, and similar goods. They will then meet with the homeless and families on a low income to provide a hot drink, biscuits, or box of groceries.
In order to use the church, a voucher must be picked up. There are several locations in which this can be done in Dover, and they include Sanctuary Supported Living, the Dover Gateway centre on 69-71 Castle Street, and of course Citizens Advise Bureau.
One of the leading charities in Kent for food is a crisis is the Family Food Bank. The organisation helps individuals threatened with a one-time crisis or emergency, and they use the generous support or volunteers and companies to operate a number of distribution points.
As resources allow, the not-for-profit will provide enough food and groceries to last a family for up to five days. Clients of the Family Food Bank do need to have a referrals in order to get help, but if they have this, the agency may have support for them. There can be boxes of groceries, soups, and other services, such as signposting to benefits. This is a leading charity for the poor in Kent County. Some of the distribution points include the following, however call 01233 500477 for the latest.
- Ashford is supported by Bluebells Children’s Centre on School Road. The local St. Mary Virgin Church also has a free food bank for the homeless and low income.
- Maidstone – The Meadow Children’s Centre. The address is Furfield Close, Parkwood, Maidstone, ME15 9JR.
- Thanet residents can use the food bank at Birchington and Villages Children’s Centre, Park Lane or there is another charity centre based St. Michael & All Angels Church.
- Margate – Garlinge Children’s Centre, which is located on the grounds of Garlinge Primary, Caxton Road.
- Sittingbourne area of Kent. In a crisis, food parcels may be at Milton Court Children’s Centre on Brewery Road.
- Ramsgate – Newlands Children’s Centre foodbank Dumpton Lane, Ramsgate.
Folkestone Rainbow Centre operates four main programmes. There is a mobile service known as FoodStop, which will prioritise senior citizens as well as the disabled. A drop in centre will also provide a free parcel of food, which has groceries, to the low income. Another key Folkestone service is the Rainbow Shop, and that will have clothing or household goods for the client. More Folkestone Rainbow Centre crisis services.
The Kent Salvation Army may have sandwiches, soups, and hot meals for the poor. This charity is a last resort though, and applicants need to have contacted other organisations or even families first. Only in a crisis may the centre help. There is a drop in centre and community cafe too. The address is Church St, Chatham ME4 4BT, telephone 1634 843689, or find Kent Salvation Army Social Services.
Council schemes and government assistance
The support from a council will only be for families that are local to the district or city. They will also only assist the low income by giving them a voucher to a local food bank. Only in rare cases may a parcel of groceries be given out to a resident.
Kent Council – In an emergency, the county may be able to provide up to seven days worth of food as part of the area welfare programme. This support is provided as a last resort to families and individuals that are in a crisis, and residents will need to apply for help. Read more Kent emergency support scheme.
The Medway welfare scheme can provide assistance to families and individuals that are local to the district. Government funding was used to create this scheme, and an aim of it is to help the vulnerable with their basic needs, and this includes clothing, groceries, free food, and more. Grants may be provided by the council to those in poverty and that have a one off crisis. Find more information on the Medway Welfare scheme.