A new Kirkcaldy foodbank has been launched, as the town faces poverty “of an unbelievable scale”
From its hub in a Dysart church, members from community groups, under the chairmanship of councillor Judy Hamilton and a committee, will help those most in need.
The new foodbank has been identified as being urgently needed and essential to address local poverty by local MP Gordon Brown.
“Its timely opening a few days before Christmas is a tribute to an army of selfless volunteers who have been working night and day for months to deliver this new facility,” he said.
“The opening comes as one local Fife charity has predicted ‘the worst year yet’ for poor families, with many needing help just to survive and dreading Christmas this year as a result of benefit changes and the spiralling cost of food and fuel.
“Years ago, a Christmas appeal would focus on toys the kind of presents those families struggling to make ends meet could enjoy as small extras.
“Now, the main emphasis in our appeals this Christmas is for basic food. The new foodbank shows that charitable and community spirit is alive in Fife this year.
“Our Christmas message must be that no Government should allow the poor and vulnerable to sink so low that they cannot feed themselves.”
It was around three years ago the idea of a local foodbank started to take shape, when a constituent of Mrs Hamilton said he was encountering people who were struggling with basic needs.
A small group started to investigate the possibility of a foodbank.
“Our efforts didn’t lead us to a foodbank at that time but planted a seed,” Mrs Hamilton said.
Later, she was contacted by the Reverend Marc Prowse, who wanted churches to move things forward and a year ago workers in the Templehall area of Kirkcaldy came up with the same idea.
“It became clear to me that we were facing poverty of an unbelievable scale here in Kirkcaldy in 2013 and that makes me angry,” she said, adding hunger hurts, distresses and depresses.
“And admitting that you cannot afford to feed your family is terrifying and humiliating,” she said.
In Kirkcaldy it became clear small groups working in little pockets of the community, were not going to be able to resolve the growing problem.
“It had to be the whole of the community, reaching out across the whole of the community,” she added.
“I remain angry at the injustice that has led us to a situation where we are creating a foodbank in Kirkcaldy in 2013.
“It represents inequality and poverty and desperation and I will fight against that injustice to the very end. But anger needs action to support it.”
To that end, a public meeting was called and the response was overwhelming.
People came from the voluntary sector, statutory services, trade unions, churches and other faith groups, schools and a local college, as well as politicians of all parties.
From that, the details were ironed out, a steering group was formed and a model was established that would see a hub and distribution point set up in the Kirkcaldy area, with collection points for food parcels in most areas.
Fife College designed a logo centreing on a jigsaw with a piece missing.
“The Kirkcaldy foodbank is here to fill in the missing piece and help that person in need,” she said.
Mrs Hamilton said in the past week she had been humbled by the generosity of people and their response to those less fortunate.