2018 will be the busiest summer for foodbanks ever

Foodbank crop

Demand is outstripping supply as foodbank use rockets

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3rd August 2018 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The poorest Scots are getting no respite from austerity as it was revealed that this summer is likely to be the busiest ever for the country’s network of foodbanks.

Emergency food programme providers the Trussell Trust, which runs outlets across Scotland, warned that record numbers are seeking help – and demand is outstripping supply.

It is asking people to contact their local foodbank to make sure they have enough donations.

There was a slight fall in foodbank use during the summer holidays last year - during July and August 2017, 26,506 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people, 8,427 of which went to children. In comparison, during May and June 2017, 8,505 supplies went to children.

But this is still a 20% increase of emergency food to children compared to the same period in 2016.

The Trussell Trust has said the backdrop of year-on-year increases at Scottish foodbanks means 2018 may be the busiest summer yet.

Samantha Stapley, director of operations at the charity, said: “Whilst it’s good news that foodbank use decreased slightly in Scotland during last summer compared to earlier in the year, it’s deeply concerning to see there was still a 20% rise in emergency food going to children compared to the previous year. This summer may be the busiest yet for Scottish foodbanks.

“This is not okay. Foodbanks cannot, and must not, be a long term to solution to hunger at any time of year. 

"No one should face going hungry, and although our network will be doing all they can this summer to help families struggling to make the money they have stretch to cover the essentials, no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics.”

Across Scotland this summer there will be a range of different projects aiming to support families, from holiday clubs run by foodbanks and community groups, to schemes with local councils.

Against this backdrop of practical responses, The Trussell Trust is urging policy makers not to lose sight of the underlying issues that leave families needing foodbanks at any time of year.

The charity is calling for better support for families to be in place throughout the year by unfreezing child benefits and making changes to work allowances so families keep more of their earnings before Universal Credit payments are reduced.

Stapley said: “There are changes we can make as a nation to help during the holidays, but if we are to protect each other from hunger whatever the time of year, we have to go further than that.

“We know particular groups of people are most likely to need a foodbank, so let’s make sure no one is swept into destitution. Our benefits system can, and must, act as an anchor to protect people from being pulled into poverty.”

During the summer months of 2017, more tonnes of food were distributed by Scottish foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network than were received as donations, and this has prompted the charity to ask the public check with their local foodbank what donations are most needed in their local area this summer.