A Glasgow charity is giving out £2.50 food pantry vouchers as food banks are forced to limit visits and face plummeting donations.
The £2.50 from Kingsway Community Connections will allow people to buy 15 discounted items in a community shop called the North West Pantry in Yoker.
Families are generally limited to nine days worth of food bank supplies within six months – meaning pantries give people another lifeline.
Kingsway Community Connections in Scotstoun won £350 council funding to help people who can’t afford the £2.50 to access the area’s pantry on Dumbarton Road.
Managing director Lainy Bedingfield said: “We are seeing people who don’t have that £2.50.
“I wanted to hold some vouchers so if people can’t afford the pantry we can give them money to go. I have worked in the community for a while. To have to ask a funder for £350 to support people to get food hurts my heart. We are seeing more and more people in real crisis. We know what crisis is.”
The Trussell Trust has confirmed donations have decreased in many of its locations.
Lainy said she has heard that some food bank donations are down 50 per cent as residents give less than before because households themselves are struggling with higher costs for essentials including electricity and food.
The organisation refers people to the Blawarthill Church food bank, which is a vital service for the community. Lainy said the current situation is so grave they need to direct people to the pantry as well.
She added: “Inequalities are widening so fast. Food banks can help as long as people are donating. You can see the baskets for food banks in supermarkets are no longer as full. The people who were just about managing aren’t managing any more.”
Talking about the impact of fuel prices, Lainy said: “Come next week I am terrified with what we are going to see with the energy crisis. The time for action is now.”
Kingsway Community Connections offers programmes to develop and empower residents by offering garden space and a range of activities including yoga.
The community development centre is based at Kingsway Court in the heart of the high flats in Scotstoun. A women’s group, family sessions and lunch clubs are also on the agenda.
Stepping in to help families get fed in a crisis is normally outside the team’s core funcion but the need is now so great. They want to do more and would like their centre stay open longer to provide a warm welcoming place for residents amid the current cost of living crisis.
Lainy said: “The organisation is here to improve people’s health and wellbeing.”
Beth Reid, programme and development co-ordinator said: “When we are offering a food voucher dignity is really important. If someone is coming to our door they have got to that point of thinking: ‘I need help, which is a lot.’”
Beth said the North West Pantry looks like a shop and offers people choice which gives them more dignity.
She said: “People are finding themselves in a very difficult position.”
The Garscadden, Scotstounhill Area Partnership awarded the £350 to Kingsway Community Connections earlier this month.
Sadie McCullough, food flow manager at the Trussell Trust, said: “The Trussell Trust supports a network of over 1,300 food bank centres which source their own stock, predominantly from items which are generously donated by the public.
“The general picture of stock levels across our network is varied, however we are aware that many food banks are seeing a decrease in donation levels and shortages of certain items. If you are in a position to donate, we would recommend contacting your local food bank or looking at our website for the latest information about which items are needed ahead of donating.”