As winter closes in the charity fears it can't meet demand
A foodbank is urgently seeking new premises as it faces unprecedented pressure on its services.
East Lothian Foodbank says the number of people needing to access its services is expected to surge this winter.
The foodbank has served the community for 11 years, providing emergency food parcels, vital financial inclusion services, and much more to the community.
But the need for its services means it now needs bigger premises.
Over 12,300 emergency food parcels were distributed in East Lothian during 2022/23, the sixth highest area in Scotland, with over a third of these (4,491) going to children.
In 2022/23, food banks across Scotland distributed over 250,000 emergency food parcels, with nearly 3 million distributed to people who needed them across the UK.
The situation is only expected to get worse, as between December 2023 and February 2024, across the UK, foodbanks are expecting to provide more than one million emergency food parcels – the most parcels ever provided across this period. This equates to an average of one food parcel every eight seconds (11,500 a day) and 7,000 people seeking support each day.
The soaring cost of living has exposed and exacerbated existing issues, such as our inadequate social security system, and is driving record numbers of people on the lowest incomes to foodbanks. Although foodbanks are doing everything they can to help, they’re already working flat out.
In December to February last winter, the foodbank provided 3686 emergency parcels to people within the local community. Staff and volunteers have also provided countless hours of compassion, guidance, and expert support to people who had nowhere else to turn.
Elaine Morrison, manager at East Lothian Foodbank, said: “We are facing the worst winter on record without enough space to store the food we have, and not enough food to make up all the emergency food parcels we need to, but we will continue to work tirelessly so no one in East Lothian goes hungry.
“Whether you could provide a warehouse or a tin of soup, or anything in between, we want to hear from you and we will be thankful for your kindness and generosity.
“We don’t want to be here forever, but while we are needed, we will do all we can for our community.
“Families are still being forced to make impossible decisions. No one should have to choose between the essentials. This winter we want to ensure we are here for everyone who needs us. So, this year we’re not asking for Christmas dinner items to fill our jingle bags instead we’re asking our supporters to help us ensure we have the essentials we need to provide meals for any day of the week… food isn’t just for Christmas.
“Everyone at East Lothian Foodbank is grateful to our community for their generosity since we were founded, and we know that as we get further into winter, the community will once again rally around us.”
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “We don’t want to spend every winter saying things at food banks are getting worse, but they are. Food banks are not the answer in the long term, but while we continue to fight for the change that could mean they can be closed for good, East Lothian Foodbank urgently needs your support.
“They need donations of food for emergency parcels, and money to fund costs such as the purchasing of food to meet the shortfall in donations they are currently experiencing.
“One in six people in Scotland face hunger because they don’t have enough money to live on. That’s not the kind of society we want to live in, and we won’t stand by and let this continue. Every year we are seeing more and more people needing food banks, and that is just not right.”
“Together, we have roots into hundreds of communities, and while someone facing hunger can’t change the structural issues driving the need for food banks on their own, thousands of us coming together can. We must end hunger across the UK so that no one needs a foodbank to survive.”