When am I entitled to help from the food bank? – The checkout

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You hope never to end up in a situation where you are dependent on it, but it is good that this safety net exists. We are talking about the food bank here. Due to soaring inflation and the energy crisis, more and more Dutch people are forced to rely on the food bank. But when do you actually qualify for a packed lunch, and what can you do if you don’t meet the criteria?

The food bank is not available to everyone: there are a number of criteria that you must meet if you want to be eligible. It primarily looks at your income and expenses, and the money you spend after deducting fixed costs such as rent, gas, water and electricity to spend on clothes and groceries.

Established standard

To keep this clear, the food bank has set standard amounts for all different types of households. Do you have less money left after paying your fixed costs than the standard amount that applies to your household composition? Then you can go to the food bank. In light of recent developments, the food bank has also extended the income limit so that more people can claim a food parcel. We have listed the criteria for you below.

  • For a single-person household, the standard is 300 euros per month, for a two-person household, the standard is 410 euros per month. The full overview of standard amounts can be found here.
  • To be eligible for a package, you must have a maximum of 750 euros in savings as a single-person household and 1500 euros as a multi-person household.
  • Any free value in your home is not included in the calculation.
  • It is necessary for the food bank to gain insight into your financial household. In this way, it must be established that you are actually entitled to a package. This only happens in consultation and with your permission.

Can students also use the food bank?

No, students may not use the food bank. The Food Bank only tries to help people who are in deep financial trouble. As a student, you cannot simply report to the food bank, unless you are deeply in debt and you are dealing with documents. Student debt does not count.

Am I entitled to a package from the food bank indefinitely?

Everyone is basically entitled to a package for three years. A term of three years has been chosen because it is equal to the term for debt restructuring. Is the package still necessary after three years? The Food Bank’s local board then assesses the individual situation.

How does the intake process work?

Although food banks in the Netherlands are usually affiliated to the association of Dutch food banks, they are independent foundations. Therefore, there may be differences in the intake procedure.

For example, the registration form you need can only be completed by a care provider. It is therefore wise to contact the food bank in your area about the admission interview. That way, you won’t be greeted by surprises. On this website you can find a food bank near you by entering your postcode.

Although the intake procedure may vary from food bank, you should always bring the following information with you.

What data and information do I need to bring to the admissions interview?

  • A PDF file with bank statements for the last two months
  • If you are under administration, a number of forms must be submitted. This concerns the living allowance and administrator account and the debt overview. The court’s decision on the statutory debt restructuring must also be included.
  • Do you manage your finances yourself? Then only the PDF file of the account statements is sufficient.
  • The registration form is sent together with the invitation. must also be taken. This form must indicate the composition of the household.

What if I just don’t meet the conditions?

Food banks focus on the group of people who are (almost) unable to keep their heads above water. For this, strict criteria are used; partly because a line has to be drawn somewhere, partly to ensure that the aid actually reaches the right group.

Due to the current crises in the country, more and more people have to use the food bank. Due to the growing need for food packages and the supermarkets’ simultaneously changing policy to combat food waste, the food bank is afraid that it will no longer be able to cover the need in the long term. This is another reason to use the above criteria.

So you don’t meet the criteria? Then you are not entitled to a packed lunch.

What can I do if I can’t go to the food bank?

Fortunately, in many municipalities there is the promotion of various neighborhood initiatives. For example, think of the give-away boxes; cupboards that are filled by local residents with leftover food so that people who need it can use it for free.

This national government website is also very useful. Here you can easily find out whether you are entitled to any supplements, and you can also see per municipality, whether there are resources to help.

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