Help for Foodbanks: As demand rises and donations fall, the Scotsman launches a new appeal

We may live in one of the richest countries on the planet, yet vast numbers of people are forced to rely on charity to get enough food to eat.

Foodbanks have become a fact of life in Scotland and across the UK (Picture: Michelle Adamson)
Foodbanks have become a fact of life in Scotland and across the UK (Picture: Michelle Adamson)

It is a scandalous situation that we once found quite shocking, but to which many have become inured as ‘foodbanks’ have become just another fact of life in 21st century Scotland.

When the Trussell Trust was set up in 1997, it initially focused on helping children sleeping at the Central Railway Station in Sofia, Bulgaria. But three years later, it found a pressing need much closer to home. After a call from a mother who was struggling to feed her children, the charity set up Salisbury Foodbank in a garden shed. There are now about 1,300 across the UK.

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Over the next six months, the trust expects to hand out 1.3 million emergency food parcels. And for those cynical about their destination, about half a million are likely to go to children. This will not come as a surprise to those who come into contact with large numbers of children on a daily basis. A survey published last month found that 67 per cent of teachers had given food or clothing to pupils, while 23 per cent had lent or given them money and 27 per cent had referred families to a food bank.

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But there is a problem. For while the cost-of-living crisis has forced increasing numbers of people onto the breadline, it has also seen donations of food fall. Kerry Dennis, a long-serving foodbank worker, explained: “People who used to put six items in the donation bin at the supermarket, probably just put in two or three now. There have been several months where our outgoing weight is almost double what's come in.”

These are just some of the reasons why The Scotsman today launches a ‘Help for Foodbanks' campaign. We should not have to do this because foodbanks should not need to exist. We should have built a society in which every citizen had enough to live on without relying on charity and which was more resilient to economic shocks. However, we did not.

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Some Scotsman readers may be struggling to pay their bills, but others will be in a position to help. So, if you are genuinely able, please do so.

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