DENS Dacorum Foodbank, run in partnership with the Trussell Trust, provides emergency food parcels to people in need. Unlike other DENS services, the Foodbank is focused on any member of the community, homeless or not, who is experiencing short term financial crisis. People can receive up to three parcels, which are sized for single people or families to provide food for three days.
Using a referral service, vouchers are given out and can be redeemed at a distribution centre. An IT system monitors the service to prevent overuse or abuse. Before an individual is given a fourth parcel, it is first ensured that they are taking the right steps towards improving their situation – the Foodbank aims to provide care and support beyond a short term solution.
Vouchers are issued by the following agencies:
Usage of the Foodbank is constantly growing, and it can be needed for a number of reasons. Most commonly, people experience reduced income due to job loss or changes in benefits payments. Families are often unable to feed their children during the holidays without free school meals. Other users of the service include people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation. It is therefore important that the Foodbank helps people move forward and improve their situations. Volunteers are trained to talk to people who collect food parcels and offer encouragement and advice. Volunteers may also refer individuals to other local support agencies.
The Foodbank relies entirely on donations from organisations such as schools, churches, and local companies, as well as donations from the general public at supermarket collections. All donations are sorted at the central warehouse in Hemel Hempstead, The Hub, before being sent out to seven distribution centres across Dacorum.