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Trusell Trust volunteers holding crates full of cans

About the Trussell Trust

At the Institute, we are committed to giving something back to the community, so we have partnered with the Trussell Trust to support their hard-working efforts – particularly during these challenging times.

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. The Trussell Trust support more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK. The Trussell Trust provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.

Primary referral causes in 2019-2020 to Trussell Trust food banks:

Primary referral causes to Trussell Trust food banks




Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK wide network distributed 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis, a 33% increase on the previous year. 980,000 of these went to children.

How food banks work:
1. Food is donated

Schools, churches, businesses, and individuals donate non-perishable, in-date food to a food bank. Large collections often take place as part of seasonal celebrations such as harvest and Christmas, and food is also collected at supermarkets.

2. Food is sorted & stored

Volunteers sort food to check that it’s in date and store it ready to be given to people who are referred to food banks in crisis. More than 40,000 people give up their time to volunteer at food banks across the UK.

3. Professionals identify people in need

Food banks partner with a wide range of care professionals such as doctors, teachers, health visitors and social workers to identify people in crisis and give them a food bank voucher to access emergency food.

4. People referred receive food

People bring their voucher to a food bank centre where it can be redeemed for three days’ emergency food. Volunteers welcome people and offer them further support to help resolve the crisis they face.

Our involvement with the Trussell Trust:

The London based staff took part in a Supermarket Sweep challenge with our sponsored charity, The Trussell Trust, based at the Hackney Foodbank (one of their franchises). It was an incredible success, both for those who took part and the Foodbank itself.

Supermarket sweep activity with the Trussell TrustWe started the day by meeting at the warehouse, where we were given a tour and had a chance to ask questions and learn about the Foodbank. We learned that donations to the Foodbank have dropped over the last year and that special ‘energy-saving’ parcels are being put together as an alternative option to regular parcels.

We then split into two teams, and we decided to give the competition a bit more of an edge by having a team of boys and a team of girls, as there was an even number of both.

Both teams were given a shopping list of required items and several maps to the local supermarkets in the area, and had to get every item on the list, as failing to get an item would result in a points deduction.

The activity was time dependent: the first team back to the warehouse received an additional 100 points, and teams arriving back late got deducted points.  Once both teams were back, our next challenge was to pack 14 parcels per team in the fastest time possible. Each of these parcels enables local people to live hunger-free for three days.

The result was a comprehensive victory by the girls, who returned to the warehouse first and scored an impressive 708 points. It was all to play for going into the packing challenge, however the boys made several errors, bringing their score down to 336 points!

Our winners, (left to right:  Kelsey, Kit and Laura) and what our contribution on the day means for the local community:

Trusell Trust Supermarket Sweep challenge winning team    Hackney Foodbank donation

In addition to this great day, our CEO, Jo Causon, held a Head to Head interview with Pat Fitzsimons, the CEO of Hackney Foodbank. Pat was very grateful to the exposure this gave the Foodbank to our member organisations and wanted to place on record her thanks to the Institute.

We have also raised over £2,000 via our just giving page. These donations were collected from activities such as the ‘100 miles in 100 days’ challenge, a ‘virtual horse racing night’, a food sale for ‘World Food Day’ and a sponsored swim-a-thon.

From donating food, volunteering your time or taking on an fundraising challenge, there are lots of ways to get involved with raising awareness of poverty and helping end UK hunger.

Find out more at

The Institute of Customer Service

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