Kirkcaldy Foodbank has issued a strong call to local politicians to take urgent action and offer more support as it desperately struggles to cope with an overwhelming demand for its services.
Members of the board have issued an open letter to Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird, Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance, Fife MSP Claire Baker, councillors David Ross and David Alexander, co-leaders of Fife Council, and local councillors urging them to “come together as politicians” and put a “more dignified approach in place that assists the work of the foodbank or replaces it altogether”.
The call comes as food poverty in Kirkcaldy continues to increase, with the situation putting an overwhelming strain on the foodbank and its volunteers.
And the chairman and board members are warning that the charity provider has moved from being a short-term solution to doing the work of a welfare state which can no longer cope with its own demands.
The letter said: “Kirkcaldy Foodbank is a local charity that works hard to ensure people in this area do not go hungry during a time of crisis.
“However, since we began in 2013, demand for our foodbank has increased dramatically. The number of food parcels distributed has gone up from 380 parcels per month to a new high of 850. This is equivalent to feeding 1732 people a month, and more than a third of those who receive support are children.
“With food poverty increasing in the Kirkcaldy area we have been looking at our current levels of expenditure and food price rises. We envisage that within the next year, our charity may need to raise and spend a monthly figure of between £10,000 and £12,000. This is unsustainable.
“We are an independent foodbank, meaning we are run entirely by volunteers and receive no government funding. We have done our best to support people in need but despite our efforts, very little has changed.
“We appreciate the support we get, without which we couldn’t survive, but it has come to the point where the foodbank has moved from being a short-term emergency provision, to doing the work of a welfare state that can no longer deal with its own level of demands.”
Speaking directly to politicians, the letter continued: “As an elected member you are charged with looking after the constituents that you represent. Change is now urgently needed. We urge you to come together as politicians and put a more dignified approach in place that assists the work of the foodbank or replaces it altogether.”
It added: “It is vital that we ensure this unacceptable hunger in our local community is tackled in a more fundamental and structured way.”