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Churches reap harvest helped by new online food bank donation service

Bankuet, the UK’s first tech-enabled online food bank donation service is helping to ensure that Harvest is plentiful for local food banks this autumn through digital giving.

The platform enables congregation members attending services virtually, either due to isolating or feeling vulnerable because of Covid, to give digitally and those attending in person to have more choice in how they give to those in need.
 
This innovative model enables funds to be raised at the ‘click of a button’.

Bankuet was founded by CEO Robin Ferris in 2019 as a practical technology-based response to increase food bank donations and to help tackle the growing problem of food poverty in the UK. The business for good platform gets food banks what they need when they need it. Much like your weekly shopping list – food banks go online and order what they need from the Bankuet platform and have it delivered at a convenient time slot.

The organisation uses its bulk buying power to negotiate better deals with large retailers, and this efficient model ensures zero-waste for food banks by identifying and delivering only exactly what is needed. Food banks traditionally have lots of rice and pasta and not enough UHT milk, baby food and personal items.
 
By using existing infrastructures, both on the ground and online, Bankuet brought stability to the food bank supply chain during the pandemic, as people were no longer able to donate in person and food banks were running out of essential items. This combined with increased demand and the need for food banks as Covid swept the nation made Bankuet an essential service, almost overnight.
 
Churches can simply set up and share an online Harvest Festival campaign on the Bankuet site – using a free toolkit of promotional resources – enabling church members to conveniently donate online to their church’s collection, maximising the amount of food delivered to the local food bank.
 
The landscape is changing in how people attend church – the pandemic has escalated the uptake of online church attendance, now that you no longer have to be at the service in person. Kings Cross Church “KXC”  in London has witnessed an increase in digital attendance of their services; so far in September they have had around 300 people attending services in-person but are receiving 500-600 views via the livestream service – a trend set to continue in the future.
 
Robin Ferris, CEO and Founder of Bankuet said: “Harvest Festival is a celebration that many people look forward to and more importantly the opportunity to give to those who need it most. Many churches across the UK will be keen to do this for their local communities, during what looks set to be another very challenging autumn.”
 
Ferris believes that the landscape for attending church has changed forever.

“We welcome the choice that online attendance provides to the church community. We are looking forward to working side by side with churches everywhere to help continue to ‘feed’ food banks in a way that isn’t disrupted by the pandemic or through people not being physically present. It is a really simple solution and we know it works – in the last year alone we have signed up more than 100 food banks and we expect this to grow exponentially the coming year.
 
”Simply put – Bankuet provides a 21st century solution to an age-old problem – food poverty.” he concluded.
 
Pete Hughes, Senior Pastor at Kings Cross Church (KXC) commented: “The Covid crisis has forced churches across the nation and around the globe to embrace a totally new way of engaging with people online. We have noticed a big increase in online engagement, including those who are most vulnerable who previously wouldn’t have been to access church in the traditional model.

“This presents challenges as well as incredible opportunities. We have been so blessed by start-ups like Bankuet as they have enabled the church to lean into generosity and serving the most vulnerable at a time of peak disconnection and isolation.”

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