Between 1st July 2018 and 20th August 2018, a total of 381 referrals were made to West Lothian Foodbank – a total of 475 adults and 242 children – compared to 292 referrals over the same period in the previous year when 360 adults and 166 children were fed. A 30% increase.
The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network, which reported a UK-wide increase foodbank use in April, believes that the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments and the absence of free school meals for children from families on low incomes. Over a third of all food distributed by the foodbank network throughout the year goes to children, but there is extra financial pressure to provide main meals during the school holidays for families who rely on free school meals during term time.
West Lothian Foodbank Manager, Kathleen Neilly, said:
“No one in West Lothian should need to use a foodbank and we want to see an end to local people requiring emergency food. We remain concerned by the increase in referrals during the summer holidays and the knock-on effects of universal credit on our services. We are dedicated to ensuring that people in our community with no money for food are able to access emergency support, and we rely on the incredible generosity of the local community in donating food, time and funds.”
Deputy Foodbank Manager, Marshall Green, added:
“The increase in referrals over the summer has resulted in us having to distribute an extra 2.74 tonnes of food. This has exhausted our supplies of a number of items and we would be extremely grateful for donations of the following: tinned fruit, tinned tuna, tinned potatoes, instant potatoes, cold meat, diluting juice (1L) and tinned custard or rice pudding.”
The running costs for the foodbank total around £55,000 a year. This includes: a van to collect and deliver food to distribution centres, and other necessary overheads including utilities and insurances. The foodbank would welcome any new offers of help with funding and local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more here.