The Food Store

Emergency Food Provision & Affordable Shopping

Please note that our last 2023 opening for the Food Store and Social Supermarket is 19th December 10am – 12pm. We will re-open on the 9th January 2024 10am – 12pm.

Our Food Store exists to help those with restricted or no financial means to access food on receipt of a referral.

What do we offer?

Our food bank is set up like a small shop. With the guidance of our volunteers, those referred are equipped to make choices for themselves regarding the food that they receive.

The Open Hands Food Store offers essential goods such as UHT milk, tea, cereal, pasta, soup, baked beans, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, and other cupboard items. Each week the store has a variety of different extras such as flour, coffee, oil, bakery, refrigerated and frozen goods. These vary depending on the donations that Open Hands receives.

We aim to take our clients on a journey towards independence, whereby people learn to reserve money for food as part of their budget. To support this goal, we offer emergency crisis support (no cost) and affordable shopping (half retail prices) services:

Social Supermarket – Affordable Shopping (half retail prices)

Our Social Supermarket is for households who have limited financial means (including those in receipt of benefits) and are unable to pay full supermarket prices for their weekly food shop. This service gives people the opportunity to purchase food items at half retail value, e.g. one adult should be able to purchase a weeks’ worth of food for around £6.

Depending on each household’s unique financial circumstances, households will be eligible for a maximum of 2 Social Supermarket vouchers, each one provides 3 months worth of access to reduced cost food. Payment can be made by cash or card.

Emergency Food Provision – Crisis Support (no cost)

Our Emergency Food Store is for individuals who have no financial means to pay for food. Households can be referred for a maximum of 1-6 consecutive weekly visits (1 per week, each visit provides access to one week’s worth of food for the household at no cost). This gives people the time to process a benefits application where eligible, and/or seek additional help with money, budget management or other professional support.

After this 6-week period clients will be given the opportunity to transfer to our affordable shopping service (outlined above).

Please note that referred individuals living in partially/fully catered accommodation (e.g. hotels and hostels) will not receive a full weeks’ worth of shopping. Instead, they will be offered the opportunity to receive food items that supplement their existing meal provision.

How does our referral process work?

To access our Food Store individuals will need a referral from someone they know on a professional basis (not a family member or friend). This could be a support worker, social worker, housing officer, doctor, child’s schoolteacher, charity or representative from another professional body. This process helps us to make sure we help those most in need of our services.

Once a genuine need has been identified a referee can contact us to request a copy of our Food Store Voucher Referral by emailing The referee will then receive further guidance notes about making a referral and a blank copy of our Food Store Voucher referral form.

The referee will then decide whether to refer for emergency food provision or affordable shopping and complete the voucher accordingly. The completed voucher can then either given to the individual in need to bring to the centre (during our food store opening hours) or sent to us by email. If a client is unable to visit us in person, the referee can come on their behalf.

What happens once a referral has been made?

When a referral has been made, the referee can provide the details below to the household in need of help.

Opening hours:

  • 10-12pm Tuesdays and Thursdays (arrive by 11:30am) – in person shopping service
  • 10-12pm Wednesdays – emergency food hamper collection

Address: The Open Hands Compassion Centre, 19 Lower Willow Street, Leicester, LE1 2HP (on the corner of Lower Willow Street and Wanlip Street).

Braunstone Collection Point: As an extension of our central food store we have partnered with a local community centre to offer an additional food collection point for guests living in the vicinity of Braunstone. Parcels can be collected as an alternative to travelling to our Food Store and can be redeemed by referral of an Open Hands Food Store Voucher.For those referred for affordable shopping, parcels are priced at £5 for one adult, £3 per additional adult and £1.50 per child. Braustone parcels can be collected by appointment only from The Oak Centre (Bendbow Rise, Braunstone, LE3 1QA) on weekdays 9.30am-12:30pm. To find out more email:, phone: 0116 3260269 or visit the website at: