Angela Bradley says she hates to see children, and anyone else for that matter, go without food.
Unlike a lot of people, the chairperson of Kersiebank Community Project is actually in a position to do something about it – if she and her colleagues at the Grangemouth-based food bank get some support from residents and businesses in the town.
Kersiebank, located in the Old Dundas School grounds in Oxgang Road, has been running its food bank since last December when it held a special drop-in event on Christmas Eve to hand out food parcels and Christmas presents to those who needed them most.
That night, which they are running again this year, was such a success, and demand was so great, that the food bank became a year round endeavour.
Angela said: “I hate to see children who haven’t got anything – it’s heart wrenching to see they cannot get a meal. This food bank shows the community has knitted together, but people can only give so many times.
“It’s been absolutely manic, especially when it comes to school holiday periods like Easter and this one coming up in October.”
Unlike Falkirk Food Bank people do not need to be referred to the Kersiebank project, they just have to drop in.
“Why should people have to get a referral for food?” said Angela.
Unfortunately donations have tailed off recently, with shelves now lacking vital stocks of canned foods.
Angela said: “The weather is getting colder so we need things that can provide warm meals – soup cans, beans, mince and tatties in a can.”
Supplies have been so low Angela and the team were forced to spend £103 they had gathered together from various sources – including donations to the project’s Go Fund Me page – to do a shop to purchase non-perishable food items.
“We probably hand out 20 food parcels to people every week,” she said. “Job centres know about us now and they have been telling people they can drop in to Kersiebank if they need help.”
One of the people who regularly uses the Kersiebank service is Thomas (58), who found himself without funds due to being sanctioned by the DWP for missing a meeting.
He said: “It’s been much worse since they started Universal Credit. I usually come in to Kersiebank two or three times a week. If I couldn’t come here I would have to go up to the soup kitchen in Falkirk and with the food bank in Falkirk you only get three parcels a year.”
Food deliveries are still coming in to Kersiebank thanks to the FairShare charity, but most of them have already been earmarked for use over the October school holidays which start next week.
Angela said: “We have had a delivery of food which we will use to help feed school pupils who need it over the October break when they will not have access to free school meals.
“We can bag up the food and then deliver it to their house over the school holidays.”
Abbotsgrange Church is just one of the local organisations which has helped the project’s food bank, making a significant financial contribution, while schools have also been providing goods and cash to buy food.
Kersiebank has been contacting local businesses to see if they can leave a crate in their staff rooms which employees could fill with cans of food and other items and volunteers from Kersiebank could come and pick it up and take it back to their stores.
“If we could put crates in staff rooms of 10 businesses then that would be a great help,” said Angela.
If donations cannot be stored and kept they can be passed on to other organisations like the Salvation Army.
“Nothing is ever wasted,” said Angela.