Volunteers at foodbanks across north east Fife say demand on their services is reaching crisis point following a hectic festive season.
A total of 41 local families, including 60 children were given food parcels in the Tay Bridgehead area, while 16 families – with 20 children – in Tayport alone relied upon donations distributed on January 2.
Cupar foodbank, the largest in north east Fife, has also seen demand rise as volunteers delivered 150 special Christmas hampers to 400 people across the area.
And Levenmouth Foodbank reported its biggest rise in uptake over the festive period with vulnerable single men, in particular, seeking assistance. From December 17 to January 4, the team there processed 105 vouchers feeding 144 adults and 88 children – up from 92 adults and 44 youngsters in 2017.
The figures were revealed as local MP Stephen Gethins presented all five foodbanks – Cupar, Tay Bridgehead, Levenmouth, East Neuk and Storehouse (St Andrews) – with a share of £700 from his recent Christmas card design competition.
The competition was won by Kilmaron School pupil Hayley Carmichael and supported by a number of local businesses.
Mr Gethins said: “I am very grateful to all sponsors for their generosity. My thanks go to them and the volunteers at foodbanks and those who support them.
“However, the fact remains that it is shocking that foodbanks have to exist at all and desperately sad that so many children in this area are growing up in real poverty.”
Tay Bridgehead Foodbank volunteer David Myles said demand was “unprecedented” and many families in the area were really struggling.
He added: “There is a crisis going on here and we are very grateful for Stephen’s support and this donation.”
Leven Foodbank gave out 80 parcels in the week before Christmas and held a New Year dinner for 40 people to ensure those who need support were not alone over the festive season.
Co-ordinator Stewart English said: “We have seen an increase of 14% in the last year due to issues with Universal Credit.
“People who have managed to get jobs but are having to wait for their first payment are facing weeks without any cash.
“Many of the people who come to us have mental health issues or addiction and are most likely to be sanctioned and be left with nothing.”
St Andrews Storehouse foodbank held a Christmas giveaway day,’ which resulted in 158 people (51 families) receiving food parcels.
Storehouse co-ordinator Scott White said that during December the team gave out 131 bags of food including 30 to partner agencies.
In the same time period, the East Neuk Foodbank, based in Anstruther, gave out 159 bags of food and essentials to local people.