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Emergency Information - Don't have enough to eat

You might find yourself caught short of money and need help with essentials like food or paying your bills. Please look at the range of support options we discuss in this guide.

Don't have enough to eat


If you are struggling to afford enough food to eat, you may be able to get help from a food bank.

Each foodbank will be different in the services it provides and how you access them. However, you will usually a voucher from a local referral partner (often Citizens Advice bureaux, health and social care professionals and/or local charities). Check what you need with the food bank you want to use.

Many foodbanks may also be able to provide 'extras' such as toilet paper, toiletries, period products, baby basics or pet food.  If there is something essential you need, ask your local food bank if they can help.

They may also be able to provide additional support by referring you to local services that may be able to help.

To find your local food bank, see the following websites:

Pet food

Turn2us users often ask us about sources of help for emergency pet food . Some food banks may be able to help with emergency pet food. If you have a foodbank voucher and need pet food as well, talk to the food bank staff and see if they can help.

Some people have set up pet food banks in their local areas. You could do an internet search to see if there is anything where you live or ask your local Citizens Advice bureau, similar advisory service or animal charity if they know of any local sources of help. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find local advisers

Some charitable funds listed on our Grants Search may also be able to help, if you meet their eligibility criteria for help, depending on your background, circumstances and needs, as well as what purposes they give grants for.


There is a Pet Foodbank in Scotland.


Not able to get to the shops

If you are unable to get food because you are not able to get to the shop because of coronavirus, there might be a volunteer group in your area who can help you. Contact your local council so they can put you in touch with a group in your area.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, many local voluntary networks have been set up to help people who need support. Find out if there is one in your area by looking at the Mutual Aid - local group website

Free school meals - Homeschooling, and school holidays

Schools must provide some pupils with a free midday meal during term times. For more information who is eligible, see Free School Meals

What is available when the schools are shut because of the coronavirus pandemic and in school holidays depends on the country of the UK that you live in.


Families in England who are entitled to free school meals should be able to access schemes in their area when schools are shut and during school holidays. Contact your local council to find out what help they are providing.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has a direct payments scheme for families eligible for free school meals when there are school closures in term time and during school holidays..

See the NI Department of Education:Covid-19 direct payment scheme for families eligible for free school meals


If you get free school meals, you may also be able to get help when homeschooling and the school holidays.

See School meals for more information


While schools are closed because of coronavirus and during the school holidays, families eligible for free school means are given vouchers or food packages by local councils in Wales. .

.Updated: January 2021

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