Surge in food bank use in festive season

Donaldson Place, Kirkintilloch, volunteers at the food bank warehouse.
Donaldson Place, Kirkintilloch, volunteers at the food bank warehouse.

Local food banks are feeling the strain in the run up to Christmas - as many people find this time of year places many extra demands on their finances.

Volunteers for East Dunbartonshire’s Foodbanks will be making special Christmas hampers soon for people to hand out along with a regular three day emergency food supply which has been formulated by the charity which set up the foodbanks - The Trussell Trust - to be nutritionally balanced.

Ann Carson, East Dunbartonshire Foodbank co-ordinator, said: “It’s a difficult time of year for people when they have to pay for extras along with all their normal bills.

“There are many reasons why people need to use foodbanks. Benefits delays and changes are often cited as a reason.

“Many people who are in employment also come to us because they get a big bill for something. One woman’s car broke down and she had to fix it to get to work but that meant that she had no money left for food.

“Many people have zero hour contracts and one week they may only get a few hours of work which they find hard to cope with.

“People may also have been hit by an unavoidable crisis such as illness or redundancy.

“The first thing we try to do when folk come in to see us is to restore their dignity and be non-judgemental about their situation.

“We are able to refer people to other agencies for help if they want us to.”

Ann added: “We are fortunate to have the support of the community all year round, we absolutely rely on the kindness and generosity of local people.

“That’s why as we begin the busy month of December we’re asking for your help to make sure that no family goes hungry this Christmas.”

Between April 2015 and April 2016, 2890 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in East Dunbartonshire.

Of this number, 783 went to children.

Everyone who comes to the foodbank is referred by agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Family Plus or Scottish Families affected by Alcohol Addiction (SFAD).

There is also a CAB advisor available on the day and they can issue a voucher to someone for food if they arrive without one. Schools can also issue vouchers.

The foodbank currently DOES NOT need any more tins of baked beans or soup. They need the following items: UHT milk, long life fruit juice, TINNED vegetables such as potatoes or sweetcorn etc, meat (chicken/ham), fish, fruit, rice pudding/custard. Instant mashed potato, jam, pasta sauces, toiletries, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, luxury biscuits, children’s selection box, chocolates, snacks and nibbles, Christmas crackers and mince pies.

Donations may be delivered to 19 Donaldson Crescent, Kirkintilloch, Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1pm - 4pm. The Upper Room, 52 Townhead, Kirkintilloch, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2pm - 4pm. St Joseph’s Church, Milngavie, Sunday 12.45pm - 1.30pm and Friday 2pm - 3.30pm, Auchinairn Community Centre, Bishopbriggs, Monday and Friday 2pm - 4pm, Campsie Memorial Hall, Lennoxtown Wednesday 9.30am -11am.