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Food banks and community fridges

Food banks and community fridges are run by the community for the community. They are where donated food is distributed to those in need or in an emergency.

Each food bank will have its own system for supporting those in need. Many use a referral system where an organisation can help you with other needs and can give you a referral number for the foodbank.  Some do not require a referral and can be used freely. Use the Help and Kindness website to search for up-to-date information on what is available in your community.

A referral point list is below, this is not exhaustive but a general guide. Please phone one of these on the list for support at this time.

  • Citizens Advice Dorset (0344 411 1444)
  • Social Worker
  • Housing Association
  • Family Partnership Zone
  • Health Visiting Team
  • Children Centres
  • Local Charities
  • Church Leaders
  • Dorset Fire & Rescue Community Support Officer

If you’ve been referred, you’ll be given a voucher code over the phone – which you can take to the relevant food bank. Once you are there your voucher number will be redeemed for three days’ worth of food. You can have a single, couple, or family pack depending on your requirements. Food banks normally provide non-perishable foods unless otherwise stated and will tailor if possible, any special dietary requests e.g. vegetarian. They may also provide other items such as toiletries to supplement the pack.


Food banks and community fridges are always looking for the following non-perishable donations to maintain their stock levels: UHT or powdered milk, tea bags, instant coffee, cereal, biscuits, pasta, rice, jars of pasta, or curry sauce. Tins of: meat, fish, soup, vegetables, fruit, rice pudding, custard.

These can be donated when you do your weekly shop as many supermarkets have a donation trolley that will be collected by a foodbank volunteer or you can donate directly to the food bank. Contact them to find out when to drop off and what is needed.

If you are struggling financially - access to food

There are schemes available to help you cope at difficult times including help for people who are extremely clinically vulnerable, free school meals and NHS healthy start scheme.  Read about the schemes here

Important Note:

Dorset Council is unable to take responsibility for the actions of any of the food banks listed; their inclusion in this directory does not imply a recommendation or inspection on our part.

Food banks are run entirely voluntarily by various organisations and Dorset Council has no direct control, involvement, or responsibility for the way they are managed. If you need further information, please refer to the food banks themselves for specific information regarding how they operate.

Contact us

Explore this website to find the information you need or you can call us on 01305 221000, 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Alternatively, help is available from Citizens Advice if you are feeling worried or have financial difficulties,

Call Dorset Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848

Call the Dorset Citizens Advice line freephone on 0800 144 8848 or textphone 0800 144 8884. All advice is free, confidential and impartial. Citizens Advice will not charge you to call the helpline but your service provider might do. See more about Citizens Advice call charges.