Huge increase in demand at Kirkcaldy foodbank

Demand increased over Christmas
Demand increased over Christmas

Kirkcaldy Foodbank saw the amount of food parcels needed over the Christmas period double since the previous year.

The astonishing figures show that with the need for foodbanks on the increase generally last year, December 2016 saw twice as many parcels given out than during the same time in 2015.

Ian Campbell

Ian Campbell

The number given out in Decmber 2016 was 494, a sharp rise from 2015’s 247.

The news comes as statistics show that 2016 had a steady increase in the number of parcels given out to those in need.

Councillor Judy Hamilton, who is also vice chairman of the foodbank, said: “It’s terrible. It reveals the amount of poverty out there.

“I’m really angry that it’s come to this. It’s a disgrace, and a damning indictment on society.

“We’ve seen a massive increase in the need for foodbanks. The human cost is devastating.

“The benefits system in this country is leaving people destitute.

“People should be able to live with dignity, without the need to foodbanks.

“It’s very much an emergency measure. Most people who use the foodbank are desperate.

“And there’s a misconception that people will continually return time after time, but we find that most people will only ever come once or twice.

“The community in Kirkcaldy is so positive, and people have really rallied to help those in need. There’s a tremendous amount of generosity in the community.

“Things like this are absolutely crucial at Christmas. It’s certainly when people are most acutely aware of the need because it’s the season of goodwill and a time of giving.

“But people in this situation will be aware that you’ve got to feed your family all year round, and this is an ongoing struggle.”

The numbers released by the foodbank show a continuing increase in the use of the facility, August being the worst month with 555 parcels needed, up from 299 in July.

Ian Campbell, Kirkcaldy Foodbank chairman, said that foodbanks are not the solution to poverty – but a worrying symptom of it.

“The immediacy might be food hunger but poverty runs much deeper,” he said.

“The narrative we see today is a continuance of the 2008 financial crash. Instead of helping those most affected, the Westminster Government clamped down on benefit applications, imposing cruel and unrealistic conditions.

“If the intention was to humiliate those that were most in need and save money, well some of that has been achieved.

“However, the Kirkcaldy community has responded differently; it has continually supported the foodbank and for that it should be thanked.

“But the demand for help is not going to go away – it is getting bigger.

“The question facing those in the local authority and indeed in government is how better to co-ordinate and resource this situation.”