November was the busiest month ever for Clydesdale Food Bank, with no fewer than 102 referrals of people needing vital provisions.
“December has been pretty busy too,” said Liz Barthram, chairm of the project.
“That is well over 700 referrals for this year, and last year we had 605 for the full year.”
The need is clearly growing each year.
The food bank was started by the Church of Scotland in Carluke, the parish group of the three congregations. It opened in March 2013 and quickly expanded to cover the whole of Clydesdale.
As it expanded, the charity took a two-year lease on a former shop in High Street, Carluke, and Liz added: “We have just renewed it for another two years, and we are still going to need it.”
Clydesdale Food Bank is now supported by churches of all denominations from all over Clydesdale, as well as by schools, clubs and organisations and individuals.
“The support has been quite remarkable, and the donations have been absolutely amazing,” said Liz.
“In the last few months, October, November and December, they have been outstanding.”
Schools including Kirkton Primary had been generous, and families had taken ‘reverse Advent boxes’.
“For each day you would normally be opening a calendar window through Advent, they put something in the box, and bring it along to us when they have filled it.” she explained.
And she added: “People have started in November so they have time to give the boxes to us before Christmas!”
Donations are regularly given through trolleys left in Tesco, but this year the food bank is receiving leftover bread and vegerables each week from Tesco through its Fairshare Food Cloud project, and Greggs also give it leftover bread and pastries such as sausage rolls.
On Monday P7 Pupils from St Athanasius Primary School prsented a huge donation of food, the result of a project they had been working on with the whole school.
The Food Bank is run by volunteers who collect, sortpack, and deliver food as well as raising funds.
In addition to the base in Carluke, there are satellites organising distribution in Lanark, Biggar, Douglas and Kirkmuirhill,