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Foodbanks across Scotland distribute nearly half a million packages over 18 months

Image credit: PA

Foodbanks across Scotland distribute nearly half a million packages over 18 months

Foodbanks across Scotland distributed nearly half a million packages between April 2017 and September 2018, according to new figures from frontline food aid organisations.

The stats, collected by the Independent Food Aid Network and A Menu for Change, show 84 independent food banks distributed 221,977 emergency food packages over 18 months, while the Trussell Trust’s network of 118 food banks distributed a further 258,606 parcels during the same time period.

But while an estimated 480,583 food parcels were distributed, with some food banks unable to contribute data the total is likely to be even higher.

Official figures released last year show eight per cent of adults experienced food insecurity in 2017, meaning they had worried during the previous 12 months that they would run out of food due to a lack of money or resources.

But the figure rose to 21 per cent among single parents and 20 per cent among adults aged 16-64 living alone.

Sabine Goodwin, coordinator of 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.

“They also demonstrate the enormous collective effort of independent food bank volunteers and staff who are doing all they can to try to prevent people in their communities from facing hunger. Of course, we and they all know the long-term solution to hunger isn’t giving out food; it’s raising income. People should be helped financially well before they find themselves having to turn to a food bank as a last resort.”

Dr Mary Anne MacLeod, research and policy officer at A Menu for Change, 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.

“If the Scottish Government wants to reduce the number of people facing hunger, it must urgently bring forward its plans to top up the incomes of Scotland’s poorest families from 2022.”

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