Help foodbanks in their fight to keep our communities fed

Bellshill Community Foodbank volunteers (l-r) Fiona Kyle, Elaine Gatenby and John Symington.
Bellshill Community Foodbank volunteers (l-r) Fiona Kyle, Elaine Gatenby and John Symington.

With austerity cuts and benefit sanctions hitting hard, more people than ever are being forced to turn to foodbanks.

This festive season the Times & Speaker is asking our readers to think of those less fortunate and consider making a donation locally.

Bellshill Community Foodbank, which operates out of the EU Congregational Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays, has provided nearly four tonnes of food since April.

It initially opened in August 2014 as part of the Basics network and volunteers learned the ropes of the referral system before becoming independent earlier this year.

Volunteer Elaine Gatenby said: “The need for our service is sadly on the increase, and especially with benefit sanctions kicking in I don’t see that changing in the near future.

“You see some people and hope they won’t be back the next week, but unfortunately the same faces tend to appear time after time.

“Sometimes after hearing their stories you could just sit in a corner and cry, the worst thing is when it is families with wee kids, but you have to keep going as you know if they’ve had a referral they need this help.”

The foodbank has baskets in Morrisons and Tesco while several churches and schools hold collections and individuals also drop in items.

Elaine made a special appeal for certain goods they need.

She said: “We are really lucky with our volunteers and donators as we couldn’t operate without them, however there are certain things that never get donated no matter how many lists you put out.

“We are always desperate for UHT milk and tins of meat, hotdogs, tomatoes and fruit, a lot of people give us beans, soup, pasta and cereal and we are grateful for absolutely everything, but we are missing a few other staples.”

For more information call Elaine on 0772 917 2008.