Call to rally round Fife foodbank

Stewart English in the Levenmouth Foodbank.
Stewart English in the Levenmouth Foodbank.

Levenmouth Foodbank is urging locals to donate more food, as the number of people it helps increases.

The figures for between October 2016 and September 2017 show that the foodbank processed 1330 vouchers, up from 1146 the year before.

Stewart English (66) a coordinator at the foodbank, said that it was not in danger of closing, but it could not continue to rely on its funds to bridge the gap between donations and food parcels.

“We are not in danger at the moment of closing our doors,” he said.

“What we are trying to do right now is make sure we don’t get to that stage.

“We do have funds we can dip into – but those funds are not limitless.”

Statistics for the last year also showed that almost half of the reasons given for needing food parcels were related to benefits.

Around 25 per cent named benefit delays as a reason, with a further 22 per cent blaming benefit changes.

“It is a sad situation,” he said. “I would love to do myself out of a job.

“That would be ideal – that we are no longer necessary.

“Personally, one of things I never realised is how bad things are in this area.

“I must have gone around with my eyes shut, even though I’ve lived in this area all my life.

“But it is like there are two Methils. There are those of us who are working, but there are these other people, living in the same streets, using the same shops, who are really struggling and you don’t see them.

“It is quite shocking, some of the problems that are out there.”

Stewart said that he was concerned about the impact Universal Credit would have when it is rolled out in December, but said the current benefit system worries him.

“I worry about sanctions,” he said.

“It’s OK saying ‘you missed your appointment, you’re not getting any money for six weeks’, but that person has still got to live, to buy food.

“This is a problem.”

As well as giving out food parcels, the foodbank also hosts a number of other events.

A community cafe runs on a Tuesday morning between 10am-noon, where people are given free breakfasts.

During the cafe, laptops are set up, with Stewart saying that people can use them for whatever purposes, and not just for job searches.

The foodbank is open at the Methil Evangelical Church on Monday and Friday, between 4-6pm.

Food donations can be made during these times.