Donate more to your local food bank by using free food apps

In this blog post I have a great way you can donate to food banks for free!

For the second year running we have taken part in a reverse advent calendar to donate a sizeable amount of food from our household to the local food bank.  It’s a great initiative ran annually by the UK Money Bloggers to raise awareness of the food banks and their increased need for supplies in the lead up to Christmas.  Some food banks see a 45% increase in their services in these weeks.

Of course it’s always important to donate to the food banks throughout the year, but especially so at this busy time of year.  That’s why the reverse advent calendar is such a great idea as it means people will donate more than usual to help with this increased demand.

It’s terrible to think that there are people in the UK who cannot afford to feed themselves or their family.  It’s a struggle that’s only too real and I feel grateful that I am in a position to be able to help others with a donation of food.

I’m not sure if food banks existed when I was a youngster, but I expect we would have been close to needing one.  I was raised by a young single mum and I know my mum received milk vouchers.  She often told us, once we were older, that the milk lady let her exchange the vouchers for other items such as bread.  She always said this lady was a lifesaver and she didn’t know how she would afford all these other items of food if the milk lady hadn’t bent the rules.  The milk vouchers were only meant to be used for milk you see.

People never know when they are going to be in crisis and in need of the services that are available nowadays like the food banks.  As someone on Twitter said to me this week, they know some lovely people who have used the food banks and they are so appreciative in their time of need.

I’m really glad I can give back now I am older and pay it forward.  It’s nice to think that I am thanking the milk lady for helping my mum in her time of need by now helping others in their time of need.

The #FoodbankAdvent campaign is one way to really help each year by maximising our food bank donation, but we will also have a monthly food shop to help keep the food banks topped up for the rest of the year too.  I’ve had an idea to give the children some money each month and we will do a special food bank shop.  They can help me by looking on our local food bank website to see what items they need, writing a shopping list and then going to buy the items.  I think the kids will really enjoy doing this whilst improving their research and writing skills as well as learning the importance of helping others in need.

How to donate to food banks for free

The reason I am writing about food banks again is because I have a clever hack that allows you to donate items to food banks for free.  This means you can top up your existing donation with these freebies to maximise what you are giving, or if you can’t afford to donate to the food bank then you can use this hack to find freebies to donate.

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You can donate to food banks for free by making use of 100% cashback or free food offers on popular cashback and supermarket coupon apps.  All you need is your smartphone and you can download the apps I share below to start finding the offers.

You may already use these apps but ignore the offers that don’t appeal personally to you.  Next time you see an offer for a free item or 100% cashback, stop and think – could this item be useful to someone who needs a food bank?

So long as it’s not a fresh or frozen item and has a decent shelf life then the answer is probably yes.

This is a great way to increase the donations at your local foodbank at no extra cost to yourself.  It’s a win-win situation.

The catch

The only drawback is that you have to pay for the item upfront and then claim the cost back using the app.  If you are skint then you obviously can’t do this and shouldn’t put yourself out of pocket, but if you can afford to wait for the cash back then it’s a great way to give even more to the foodbanks at no extra expense to yourself.

How can I find free items to donate to the food banks?

There are three supermarket coupon apps that I use and recommend.  Many of these apps offer a discount on products, but they regularly offer free items or 100% cashback.

The offers usually update weekly so simply refresh your app every Monday to see if there’s anything you can get for free for the food bank.

Give more to your local food bank by using free food apps

Here are the in-store coupon apps I recommend you download:

·        Shopmium

They currently have grocery coupons for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Boots.  If you sign up by clicking my Shopmium referral link then you can currently get a free tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

Of course you can’t donate ice-cream, but just keep an eye on the app to save money on your own food shopping and to discover 100% cashback offers so you can donate extra items to the food bank at no cost to you.

·        GreenJinn

GreenJinn is a smartphone app which has digital coupons for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.  They also have a changing ‘others’ section which features other retailers such as Boots, Superdrug and Ocado.  The coupons are refreshed every Monday and you’ll find food, toiletries and cleaning products.

Find a coupon you want to use, take a photo of your receipt on the app once you’ve bought the item and within a day or so you’ll get cashback.  You can cash out to your PayPal account as soon as you reach £1.50.

·        CheckoutSmart

This is an app from the cashback site Quidco.  You can receive up to 100% cashback on selected items from major supermarkets, many High Street retailers and even Ocado.  To avoid a pay-out fee, just wait until you have over £20 to withdraw.

Sign up at


Also keep an eye out in the supermarket for offers that let you try a product for free or coupons in magazines and newspapers.  Whilst the product may not be useful for you, it could really help someone else out in their time of need.


What to read next

Help your local food bank with a reverse advent calendar

Who Gives A Crap review and 10 tips to reduce plastic waste in your bathroom

How to always recycle your old clothes (even if ruined)

Eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper #CutTheWrap

Stop 500 billion single use cups and plant 10 million trees


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