Growing demand for food banks as cost of living crisis continues to bite

Pollok Pantry provides a dignified shopping experience not that different from a local shop. 

Charities at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis have warned that people are facing the same problems as last year.

Demand for services such as food banks and pantries continues at pace, despite the rate of inflation slowing down.

One such service is the Pollok Pantry in Glasgow. 

It caters for hundreds of people each week, providing a dignified shopping experience not that different from a local shop. 

Helen, a mum of four from Pollok, uses the pantry every week to help feed her family. 

She told STV News: “I can’t think about walking into a supermarket because its just horrendous the way things have gone up, its like a pound, 50p, each item.”Things are really bad just now and it’s only going to get worse. I think some people’s perspective on it is that this was last year’s problem and it’s getting better. But for a lot of people, they’re trying to block it out because it is so hard and it’s getting harder each day.

“I know I do try to block it out for the sake of the kids so they don’t see me struggling. It’s embarrassing as well, there is still a lot of stigma with it.” 

While inflation has fallen from the highs of last year, those on the shop floor say the cost of living crisis continues to show no sign of slowing.

The Pollok Pantry, which provides a shop for just £3, has seen its membership rocket over the last 12 months.

“Come January and February, they are our busiest months, we have been opened three years in June and I’ve noticed the figures going up every year,” said pantry manager Tracey Gilligan.

“It is very hard times for some people. We give a lot of food parcels out as well through our emergency helping from social workers, doctors, schools. The people who use this tell us everyday they couldn’t live without the pantry, it’s a lifeline for them.”

Some of the food on the shelves comes from local supermarkets, including Lidl, who identify produce that is fresh and suitable for donation.

It’s part of a project from Neighbourly – a group that connects organisations to maximise the impact of their time, food and funds.

“I think we are seeing a continued rise in demand, and in winter especially, as the costs of living don’t go down” said the organisation’s CEO Steve Butterworth.

“From that perspective right now in the short-to-medium term, I don’t see there being any real change in the level of help we are providing.” 

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