Employed people turning to food banks in desperate bid to feed their families

WORRYING trends on foodbank users are emerging as kindhearted residents across Glasgow rally to help feed hungry people in the wake of our Food for Thought campaign.

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More people forced to turn to foodbanks
More people forced to turn to foodbanks

Employed people - dubbed "the working poor" - are being forced to turn to foodbanks for help.

As we delve into the city's extent of foodbank reliance through our campaign, new patterns have emerged.

Those in work are joining the unemployed and people who have fallen foul of benefits sanctions to call for hand outs because of a lack of money to buy food.

Volunteers say "men in suits" turning up at the life line services for bags of food to feed themselves and their families are becoming a more regular occurrence.

These desperate ­people are classed as "low income" by foodbanks who collect data about users.

Worryingly the people in this category is rising, thought to be because of the rising cost of living and prevalence of zero-hours contracts, alongside a general increase in those using the life line services.

There are around 50 foodbanks across the city. Four of these are run by the Trussell Trust charity who collate data from users about why they have turned to the foodbank.

Last year they fed a ­total of 9678 in Glasgow - handing out the equivalent of 87,102 meals.

The Govanhill foodbank was the busiest feeding 4304, the Scotstoun-based branch fed 3953 people, the Calton branch fed 853 and the Pollok branch fed 577.

Around 20% of those fed by all four foodbanks - a total of 1975 people - were classed as 'low income'.

Ewan Gurr, Scotland development manager for the Trussell Trust, said: "The working poor makes up a large proportion of those who fall into the low income category.

"These are people who are in work but struggling with the rising cost of living.

"Many are also on zero-hours contracts meaning they have no guarantee of steady hours of work."

Director of public health for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Linda De Caestecker, has spoken out about the worrying rise in the number of people using foodbanks.

The top doctor also had first hand experience of the issues faced by these people as she sits on the board of the City Mission.

She said: "The issue of the working poor is a relatively new one.

"We see more people coming into to City ­Mission in suits."

Mr Gurr agreed and added: "I have seen ­people coming into foodbanks during their lunch breaks and after their shifts, including men in suits.

"I saw one man who was on a zero-hours contract and had only five hours work one week and 10 the next.

"He was struggling to put food on the table just for himself to eat.

"It makes me worry about the people who are working more unsociable hours and can't make it into foodbanks during opening times.

"The rising cost of living is a big factor but it is also up there with benefits changes and delays, unsecure employment and minimal opportunities for people looking for work as the main reasons people use food banks."

The Trussell Trust is currently amending its data collection system so that it can gather more specific data about the working poor which can then be analysed further.

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Food and drink

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