Demand for food parcels is highest in five years claims the Trussell Trust

Figures from the Trussell Trust shows that more than 128,000 food parcels were given to struggling families in Scotland over the last six months, the highest level in that time period for five years.

Food banks in Fife handed out 8,296 food parcels between April and September, 2,996 of those were for children. These numbers are slightly less than last year but are still higher than five years ago by more than 1,000.

The charity say that they are expecting to provide around 1 million food parcels across the UK between December and February, the equivalent of one parcel being handed out every eight seconds.

Head of Scotland operations, Polly Jones, says that the work is becoming more strenuous for volunteers.

She said: “There are about 132 food banks running across Scotland, they’re mainly run by volunteers, and they’re working really hard to try and keep up with the demand”.

“The demand for food parcels has reached such a peak that we’re needing to recruit zillions more volunteers…each food bank is fundraising money so they can buy food to top up what’s been donated by the community. Just in order to keep the parcels going out to people who need them.

The statistics show that the Trussell Trust may be unable to keep up with the ever-increasing demand, and Polly believes both the Scottish and UK government need to step in to resolve the issue.

“For the UK government, the first thing at the top of their to-do list is to make sure social security rises in line with inflation, and secondly, they need to look at properly making sure that what you get from social security covers the cost of essentials," she added. 

"There was never a kind of formula to link what you get from social security to what things actually cost”.

However a DWP spokesperson said there are 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty than in 2010. 

They added: "We know some families are struggling, which is why we are providing a record support package worth £3,300 per household.

"This includes the latest cost of living payments paid directly to over eight million households this month and our decision to raise benefits by over 10% earlier this year.

 “We also know that households are at least £6,000 a year better off in full-time work than out of work on benefits, and to help people out of poverty through work we are also increasing the National Living Wage again and investing £3.5 billion to help thousands into jobs, grow the economy and bear down on inflation.”

Information about nearby food banks and an advice line can be found on the Trussell Trust website.

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