Ten independent food bank venues in Fife have collectively handed out 42,491 three-day emergency food supply packages in just 18 months.
The new figures come as it has been revealed the number of emergency food parcels distributed in Fife has increased by 56 per cent, according to statistics released by A Menu for Change and the Independent Food Aid Network.
Data collated from independent food banks, which represent 42 percent of the food bank picture in Scotland, has been combined with Trussell Trust figures to show the full scale of emergency food bank use in Scotland.
In Fife, the number of parcels distributed by independent food banks has risen from 25,798 to 40,409 in 18 months.
Food bank figures represent only the tip of the iceberg of those experiencing food insecurity with people often skipping meals or going without food instead of using a food bank. The new figures also do not account for other types of emergency food aid provision.
Joyce Leggate, Chairperson of Kirkcaldy FoodBank said: “Increasing numbers of people in Fife are being forced to turn to food banks in order to put food on the table. We have seen a month on month increase in people coming to us because of inadequate benefit payments, problems with the social security system and low wages.
“We are very concerned by today’s figures which show the vital role independent food banks have been playing throughout Scotland by offering emergency support for those who are no longer being supported by the social security safety net.”
A Menu for Change – the partnership between Oxfam Scotland, Nourish Scotland, the Poverty Alliance and the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland – and the Independent Food Aid Network say the UK government must ensure people have sustainable and secure incomes to stop them being pushed into food insecurity.
And they are now demanding the new UK government increases the National Living Wage to the Real Living Wage, restores the value of key benefits and uprates all benefits with inflation.
They say Scottish ministers must also use their powers to increase funding to the Scottish Welfare Fund which has faced a real-terms cut since 2013, ensuring local authorities are fully able to support people at crisis point.
Joyce added: “Many people we meet often see no end in sight, as they struggle to escape from the situation they have been dragged into. No one in Scotland should be forced to turn to a food bank to survive.
“The Scottish and UK governments need to act now to end the need for food banks by ensuring people have the reliable incomes they need from social security and wages.”