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If you find yourself in a crisis and you can't afford food, you might be able to get free food from a food bank. Examples of crises include losing your job, becoming homeless, or getting an unexpected bill which leaves you with no money.

You'll need a voucher before you can get food from a food bank, you can't just turn up. There are lots of places (called 'referral agencies') where you can get vouchers from. Find out where you can get food bank vouchers.

When you go to a referral agency, they'll ask for some basic details so they can complete the food bank voucher. Those details will help the food bank be able to prepare food for the right number of people. They will also help the referral agency to understand the cause of your crisis, and give them a chance to offer you help.

Once you have a voucher, you can exchange it for emergency food at your nearest food bank. Find out where your nearest food bank is.

Middlesbrough food bank provides three days' worth of food for individuals and families. A typical food parcel includes:

  • breakfast cereals
  • soup
  • pasta or rice
  • pasta sauce or tinned tomatoes
  • tinned beans
  • tinned meat (or vegetarian / fish options)
  • tinned vegetables
  • tinned fruit
  • tea or coffee
  • sugar
  • biscuits
  • snacks

The foodbank can usually adapt the food parcel to meet specific dietary needs, for example, gluten free, halal, or vegetarian. When you arrive at the food bank, a volunteer will chat to you about any special dietary requirements you have.

Find out more about Middlesbrough foodbank on their website.