Foodbanks are not the end of the chain

Basics manager David Shaw has appealed for UHT milk and tinned meat.
Basics manager David Shaw has appealed for UHT milk and tinned meat.

Basics Foodbank (North Lanarkshire) was founded in 2007 and currently operates in Motherwell, Wishaw, Airdrie and Viewpark.

Over the past year it has given out 1,766 food parcels equating to nearly 39 tonnes of food.

Basics manager David Shaw sees the foodbank as being one link in a chain to help people in crisis and says it is important to understand why the crisis has arisen to truly solve it.

He said: “We work closely with North Lanarkshire Council to promote the Scottish Welfare Fund as an option for people to go to.

“It is best to look at why people need help and the fund can give people payments so they can buy food as an alternative to just coming to a foodbank.

“A small minority will see it as their right to get a food parcel and not do anything with their life, but for the vast majority it is people who have been hit with a crisis they didn’t ask for or expect.

“For 70 per cent of people we can tie it back to benefits, whether it’s starting after being made unemployed, changing over benefits or the introduction of sanctions.

“You also have people in debt and family break-ups, as well as life events like bereavements and illness; when people don’t have a lot it doesn’t take much.

“If you are in a crisis, whether you are working or on benefits, we can help, but it has to be through an agency referral. There has to be that third party working with you to deal with the underlying reason why a food parcel is needed, otherwise the food will be eaten and the problem will still be there.

“Our Beyond Basics form asks if recipients want the financial inclusion team to phone them and look at their situation which provides a stepping stone to moving on.

This festive season the Times & Speaker is encouraging readers to donate to their local foodbank and David has appealed for UHT long-life milk, tinned meat including curry, mince and steak, tinned fruit and tinned custard.

He said: “The idea is to allow people to be able to make meals, so I say to people who want to donate to just give what they would buy for themselves.

“I would like to say a special thanks to TOM in Airdrie who gifted us our van which it is essential to the way we operate, and of course all our volunteers and donors without whom the whole operation would grind to a halt.”

To make a donation use the collection point in Shelter’s Motherwell store or call David on 07708181347.