A staggering 480,000 food parcels were handed out to struggling Scots over an 18-month period
The staggering amount of food handed out by foodbanks has been laid bare in a new study.
For the first time, researchers have taken figures from the UK’s largest provider, The Trussell Trust, and combined them with independent community foodbanks.
The Trussell Trust has 118 sites in Scotland and gave out 258,606 parcels over 18 months, from April 2017 to September 2018. A further 84 independent providers handed out 221,977 parcels over the period, taking the total to at least 480,583.
Sabine Goodwin, who led the research for the Independent Food Aid Network, said: “These statistics are deeply troubling and provide yet more evidence of the growing number of people in Scotland who are unable to put food on the table.”
Glasgow had the most independent foodbanks, with 44,037 parcels at 10 locations. Nine foodbanks provided 27,267 parcels in North Lanarkshire.
The research was supported by A Menu For Change, a project managed by groups including Oxfam and the Poverty Alliance.
The group’s Dr Mary Anne McLeod said: “These figures are truly shameful in rich Scotland and they should make for deeply uncomfortable reading for our political leaders.
“The problem of rising levels of hunger in Scotland is much worse than previously known.
“The Scottish Government should be commended for its plans to help families put food on the table through the new income supplement, but promises to help people in three years’ time are of little comfort to parents whose cupboards are empty right now.”
Joyce Leggate, from a food bank in Kirkcaldy, said: “Today’s statistics represent a worrying and growing number of people across Scotland who are struggling to make ends meet.
“Every day in Kirkcaldy we meet people who are being driven to our doors because of problems with the benefits system.
“A third of the food parcels go to families with children – the innocent victims of a system which is pushing people into debt, despair and poverty.
“We hope that today’s figures shine a light on the previously hidden role independent foodbanks are playing in picking up the pieces of a failing social safety net, and spur policymakers into taking decisive action to stop food banks like ours from becoming entrenched in Scottish society.”