South Lanarkshire organisations and churches have taken an aggressive approach to hunger. They are responding to the massive increase in people who cannot afford to buy all the food they need.
Some of the people that seek assistance are short every month. These chronic cases highlight the reality of stagnant wages and rent increases that were nearly 6% in Glasgow for 2014.
Other families were impacted by changes that caused a financial crisis. A change to benefit payments might have caused a major disruption in the finances. Firms that made workers redundant also pushed some people into situations where they were unable to pay their major bills. While Social Services and JobCentre Plus assist with benefit applications and employment searches, they do not have food to distribute. What they can offer is a voucher which is redeemable for aid at one of these local food pantries.
When a voucher is presented at one of these community organisations, the resident is provided with a food hamper that can feed the family for three days. Extreme cases may warrant more than one voucher.
Self-referrals are not allowed since the goal is to prevent permanent reliance by residents. Each location can provide a list of agencies and professionals who may provide the referrals. Organisers prefer that the good citizens of North Lanarkshire be connected with all possible aid organisations when there is trouble with their finances. The voucher system ensures this partnership with service providers remains strong.
Anyone already in touch with an agency may request a voucher from their caseworker. Vouchers provide updated operating days and hours for each location. This information may also be obtained by contacting the individual food bank distribution centres directly.
- Blantyre is served by Hamilton District Foodbank. This is the local affiliate of the national Trussell Trust charity. Enquiries may be made by calling on 07884 451512. This is otherwise referred to as the Hamilton Churches Drop-In Centre which is located at Blantyre St Andrews Parish Church.
- Carluke residents receive aid through Clydesdale Food Bank. Calls on 07546 579273 can confirm hours for parcel pickups on Hamilton Street.
- In East Kilbride Loaves and Fishes is based on 15 Carron Place. Enquiries are welcome on 01355 224375 or 07908 006913. Aid is also distributed by Calderwood Baptist Church on Maxwellton Road. Telephone is 01355 247660.
- Hamilton emergency aid is provided by Salvation Army on Burnblea Street. Calls on 01698 427408 can confirm the eligibility for assistance. For regular requests residents may rely on Hamilton District Foodbank. Calls on 07884 451512 can provide information about the centre on Clarkwell Road. This site is hosted by Hillhouse Parish Church.
- Larkhall is served by the new Clyde, Avon & Nethan Foodbank, which is a Trussell Trust affiliate. One location is currently operating from Trinity Cottage on 96 Union Street. Emails on [email protected] may be preferred to calls on 07591 104027 due to limited hours only on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Salvation Army Rutherglen distributes emergency food parcels at St Columbkille’s Church. Enquiries on 0141 647 6034 are recommended prior to arrival on 2 Kirkwood Street. Regular donations are available through Rutherglen & Cambuslang Foodbank at the same address. Calls on 07745 038 795 can confirm steps to get referred for aid.
Additional locations are likely to be added in coming months. Volunteers are working to secure the funding and community support necessary for expansion. The hope is that more aid can be delivered to all areas of North Lanarkshire so that no family is forced to go without food during a period of hardship.