Woman with mask looking at empty supermarket shelves

Doomsday Cupboard: Build Your Own Foodbank

At the start of lockdown, the UK went into panic mode. Faced with the risk of not being able to get to the shops, or food running out, many just stockpiled. Loo roll, pasta and rice were rarer than gold. Bare shelves looked like the apocalypse had arrived…

It’s a dilemma many benefit claimants face every week: “What if our income dried up and all we could feed our families on was what’s in the cupboards?”

Now, as millions of people have been tipped onto welfare during lockdown, it’s a question everyone might be starting to ask themselves.

The Trussell Trust reported that almost 100,000 people used a food bank for the first time in 2020. In just the first month of lockdown, food banks in the UK reported that demand had tripled. The charity grimly estimated that an extra 670,000 people would be classed as “destitute” by the end of 2020.

When Universal Credit was just starting and people waited weeks for their first payment, Quids in! got to thinking. What if we all built our own Food bank? Now we’re revisiting the question for the rest of us.

Years back, our grandparents would have had a pantry full of food ‘just in case.’ Sometimes tins were so old the price tags were still in pounds, shillings and pence. These days most of us buy-as-we-go.

Lockdown Shutdown

If we’ve learnt anything over the last months, it’s that a little forward planning can go a long way. Taking our grandparents’ approach means we wouldn’t need to panic-buy.

For some of us, lockdown meant more time to cook at home. We were forced to use up leftovers, reduce waste and be more resourceful when it came to preparing meals. With a bit more time to spare, we could think more about how to manage meals.

It Could Be You

Even for non-claimants, the benefits of avoiding grocery shopping for a month could be huge. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average household spends £247 a month on food and non- alcoholic drinks.

Even if we’re not skint, it’s worth thinking about what we could do if we shaved a bit off that big lump of money. Supermarkets and the government alike are now alert to the fact they cannot always guarantee to replenish the shelves. Anything can stop the flow of goods from field to shop floor, especially if that field is overseas.

Drought could prevent the usual suppliers producing flour. A terror attack, or a trade deal going wrong, could delay cargoes of food reaching the UK. Or, most likely of all, people could panic buy and clear everything out.

As Quids in! would always say: Don’t fear the worst, just prepare for it. That’s why we call our personal little food bank, our Doomsday Cupboard! Read our Tips on Stockpiling.

By spending just a few pounds a week to build up a stockpile of dried, packet and tinned goods, we might not even notice the cost. If we stick to a plan, following the principles below, it won’t be long before we have a food bank of our own.

In our free download, we teamed up with the food kit people at Foodini Club to create a cheap and easy plan to build our own ‘Doomsday Cupboard’. So whether we aim to save a month’s food costs, need to migrate to Universal Credit, or have to sit out an alien invasion, we’ll keep the family fed.