Brexit and benefits changes could mean Falkirk Foodbank will have to continue to be a real lifeline in the weeks, months and years to come.
The stark truth people in Falkirk cannot afford to feed themselves and their families really hits home over Christmas and donations of food continue to flood in to the Tamfourhill base of the Trussell Trust-operated charity.
Jim Cooper, Foodbank centre manager, said: “The people of Falkirk are absolutely fantastic. I don’t think there is a region that gives more generously than Falkirk and the Falkirk Bairns.
“We also get a lot of businesses who support us, especially at this time of year, with stores doing collections through employees and customers. The businesses in Falkirk are right behind the foodbank every year.”
The numbers of people using the foodbank have only increased by two per cent from last year – when over 6000 people, including almost 1700 children, used the service – but those figures could rise over the coming weeks.
Jim said: “I don’t think the foodbank will have to expand, but uncertainty over things like Brexit means we could see an increase in the number of people using the foodbank – we certainly don’t see any decrease happening in the future.
“There are a number of factors which affect the numbers who use the foodbank, from changes to benefits to local government – we are not sure what the tax bands will be set at next year.
“All this uncertainty over what’s going to happen in the near future and the impact it could have on people on low pay means those people could be seeking our help just so they can feed their families.”
Tesco is just one of the firms mounting a food drive for the foodbank this festive season and its Christmas collection runs from today (Thursday) to Saturday from 9am to 5pm at all Tesco stores across the Falkirk area. Shoppers are asked to pick up something extra and put it in the foodbank baskets provided at the front of the store.
It is not just food donations which are accepted, important household items like toilet rolls, sanitary towels, nappies, toiletries and even tin openers are welcome.
Those who find they are struggling to put food on the table for their families and need help from the foodbank can be issued with a foodbank voucher from a number of agencies, including social services, Citizens Advice, doctors, churches and the Salvation Army.
If people are able, they can collect food parcels from Falkirk Foodbank headquarters in Tamfourhill, but food parcels can also be delivered by van to each person’s home.
Visit www.falkirkfoodbank.org.uk for more information.