Foodbank feeding frenzy as holiday kids go hungry

ALMOST 90 hungry children sought help at a Glasgow foodbank in just two hours.

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Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon talks to volunteer co-ordinator Julie Webster at Greater Maryhill Foodbank
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon talks to volunteer co-ordinator Julie Webster at Greater Maryhill Foodbank

Greater Maryhill Foodbank revealed it handed out emergency food rations to 89 children under 17 in the first week of August.

Volunteers warned that many children who are entitled to free school meals have been going hungry during the holidays and described the situation as "heartbreaking."

Julie Webster, 38, volunteer coordinator, said: "We saw 89 children under 17 in two hours in the first week in August.

"The children who get free meals aren't getting that guaranteed meal if they are off school.

"It's heartbreaking.

"Since January 2013 we have seen treble the amount of people coming in."

The shock figures were revealed as Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the foodbank to unveil a £500,000 funding package for projects across Scotland, including five in Glasgow.

The Maryhill foodbank typically help up to 70 families in a week.

The Evening Times' Food For Thought campaign is aiming to better co-ordinate foodbanks, to ensure no one is turned away hungry.

Julie, a mum of five from Summerston, described one case involving a mother and her two young teenagers, who had not eaten properly for four days when they came to the foodbank.

She says the mother was frantically searching for a tin of food with a ring pull so they could eat the contents immediately.

She said: "That's probably the most horrific case. Her benefits had been stopped. The daughter was showing definite signs of malnutrition.

"A lot of them are working poor. That's very difficult.

"Benefit sanctions can often be short term. The fact we have got working poor is much harder to deal with.

"It's hard when people say, I'm working, why am I struggling?

"Asking for food must be the hardest thing you can ever do."

The Greater Maryhill Foodbank has been given £40,000 from the Government's Emergency Food Fund. Other projects benefitting include the Glasgow North West Foodbank.

Ms Sturgeon said: "This money is not going to deal with the underlying reasons that are leading more people to foodbanks.

"Unless we can take the social security system and the minimum wage out of the hands of Westminster then we will always have this situation.

"The referendum is an opportunity to break the cycle."

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

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