The County You Live, Work And Play
Foodbank Demand Trebles
Demand for emergency food parcels in Rutherglen and Cambuslang almost trebled in August.
Figures released this week by Rutherglen and Cambuslang Foodbank show 326 people sought support in August, a jump of 201 from the same period last year.
Demand has increased every month this year when compared to the same period in 2015, with overall demand for the first eight months of the year increasing by 69 per cent.
The statistics come as the food bank reveals it has been forced to spend £1,000 of its reserves in the past month to answer the number of food vouchers being presented at its three distribution points.
Ian Robertson, secretary of the food bank, said: “This is possibly the most challenging time the food bank has ever faced in terms of the massive increase in demand. We can’t match that with the number of donations that are coming in.
“We have never had to dip into our reserves to that extent before. We frequently have to dip into it for specific items, for pasta sauce or rice for example.
“But if you look at the figures, at that increase in take up last month, that works out at £5 a head. That’s not a huge amount of money but it adds up.
“These reserves are money people donated rather than food.”
Rutherglen and Cambuslang Foodbank hosted a food drive at Morrison’s supermarket in Cambuslang at the weekend and the Rutherglen branch of Women for Independence also launched a flash fundraiser last week to raise funds to purchase more food.
Churches meanwhile are each concentrating on collecting particular items.
Ian added: “We decided last week that despite the food drive at Morrison’s that we would still - given the increase in uptake and that we have no idea how many will come through the doors this month - need the churches to concentrate on collecting these items to build up our stocks.
“Anyone can donate food at the churches and our three distribution points.”
MP for Rutherglen and Cambuslang, Margaret Ferrier, said: “If there is one thing that is clear from these figures it’s that austerity does not work.
“The need for food banks is a truly shameful indictment on our society and the Tories should be ashamed that their policies are actively driving people into desperation.
“Limited new powers are being devolved to Scotland, which will give us the opportunity to take a different approach to the Tories. With 85 per cent of welfare spending still with the Westminster Government, however, I fear these trends in foodbank use may continue.”
Food donations can be handed into St Columbkilles Church Hall between 12.30pm and 2.30pm, Monday to Thursday, West Whitlawburn Community Centre between 6pm and 8pm on Tuesdays and Cambuslang Baptist Church between 12.30pm and 2.30pm on Fridays.