People in Moray are being urged to dig deep and assist a local food bank as demand for its services continues to increase.
Elgin’s Tesco store has been at the forefront of the drive to assist Community Food Moray (CFM), who run a food bank from their premises at Batchen Street.
Working with the national charity Trussell Trust the food bank supports individuals and families who are struggling to cover the costs of even basic food items.
CFM say that they have handed out 865 food parcels since January – but these were often made up of cold produce because clients could not afford to use cookers, microwaves or ovens.
Changes to benefits are blamed for plunging many people who are already on low incomes so far into debt that they have no option but to turn to charities such as the Trussell Trust for help.
Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead visited Tesco this week to highlight their efforts to assist CFM, with staff at the store today handing out ‘shopping lists’ for the food bank collection point in the store.
Mr Lochhead said: “The existence of the food bank in Moray is a sad fact of life with the UK Government’s austerity measures and welfare changes hitting the poorest hardest.
“Along with our local MP Angus Robertson I will continue to argue the case for the reversal of the shocking UK Government policies that are causing so much pain for people but while those policies remain in place we must do what we can to support those affected.
“I was pleased to help highlight Tesco’s national food collection and I commend the efforts of food bank volunteers and Tesco staff who are working hard to maximise support for the food bank and the vital work it does.
“I would encourage people to donate what they can either at Tesco’s food collection, directly to the food bank in Elgin’s Batchen Street or at the various other food bank collection points around Moray.”
Earlier this month the Scottish Government announced a £1million spend aimed at addressing the immediate need and underlying causes of food poverty.
Of that £500,000 has already been committed to the FareShare charity which distributes surplus food from retailers who support their local communities.
According to figures released by the Trussell Trust the number of people using food banks in the first three months of this year rose to 71,428 – compared to 14,332 for the same period last year.