Foodbank officials are concerned following an alarming rise in demand for emergency supplies in South Aberdeenshire.
In the period between April and September this year, the facility sent out 165 supplies to feed 336 local people, including 127 children.
It represents a 7% increase on the same period last year.
Aberdeenshire South Foodbank says this is due to more people in the area struggling with low incomes (35%), benefit changes (15%), benefit delays (13%), homelessness (7%) and debt (6%).
Manager Don Morrison said: “It’s a real concern that, in only six months, we’ve been called upon to provide such a volume of emergency supplies. These figures don’t even cover our busiest time of year. As the weather turns colder, we often find an increase in the number of folk having to turn to us for help, as the extra cost for heating puts pressure on household budgets.”
He added: “It’s not right that anyone should be forced to turn to food banks and we would like to see an end to the need for the provision of emergency food.
“However, that is unlikely until we have a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis and a society where folk can find secure work that rewards them with sufficient income to cover their basic living costs.
“Until that happens, we’re determined to make sure that help is here for people in times of crisis.”
The foodbank is particularly in need of dried milk, fruit juice, rice pudding and Christmas items and has asked for festive donations to be given early in December, to ensure volunteers have enough time to process and distribute them.
The facilty is in the old fire station on Mount Street, behind Banchory West Church, and also covers Portlethen, Stonehaven, Inverbervie and Laurencekirk and places in between.