Challenge Poverty Week: Food banks

“When we opened our doors in 2013 we thought we would run for a couple of years until things got better. We thought something would happen … but it hasn’t happened.”

Those were the exact words spoken by Joanna Tait, treasurer of Kirkcaldy foodbank, as she made a plea to the local community recently to help raise £15,000.

Without those funds, the foodbank fears it won’t be able to cope.

In the past two years alone, the amount of food parcels distributed by Kirkcaldy foodbank has gone up by 224 per cent from 380 parcels a month to a new high of 900.

An army of around 100 volunteers provides the service but the cost of providing food has reached a staggering £8000 a month – over and above food donations.

It’s heart breaking that more than a third of those who receive support from Kirkcaldy foodbank are children.

Of 11,500 children in Kirkcaldy, 3,500 are being brought up in poverty – a figure, bear in mind, which is considered to be an underestimate.

In Sinclairtown and Dysart, for example, 38 per cent of children are being raised in impoverished families – a number predicted to reach a staggering 50 per cent soon.

The foodbank reached a point last year where it was only six weeks away from closing but a call-out for help brought forward donations from the public.

In April Joyce Leggat, chairperson, said: “However, the reality is that as quick as we can catch-up, we find ourselves catching up again and we can never take our eye off the ball.

“There’s nothing worse than having to turn away a family, saying we have nothing left to hand out.”

It’s appalling that a government can turn a blind eye to the plight of children having to go to bed hungry at night.

It’s an abuse of the third sector for the government to expect them to prop up the welfare state – but under Universal Credit that’s exactly what is happening.

Let’s be clear. What we have is a deliberate unpicking by this government of all the progress fought for over decades by our parents and our grandparents.

When they survived the Great Depression their enduring mission was to ensure that future generations would never have to go hungry or worry about heating their homes.

Sadly, the increasing reality is that for too many people in our community that is exactly what is happening.

Meanwhile the Tories are saying ‘No connection. Nothing to see here.’”

Well, we know different.

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