Food bank use is on the rise – so how can you help?

The number of people turning to food banks for support has leapt by a huge 20% in Scotland in the last year – meaning more people than ever before are in a situation where they can’t afford basics provisions for themselves and their families.

The Trussell Trust issued a record 76,764 three-day food packs to people in need in Scotland in the first half of 2017.

The charity says that the jump is linked to the roll-out of Universal Credit, a new benefits system which sees certain benefits being issues as one payment. They noted that in 42% of cases, issues with benefits were the reason for people turning to food banks for help.

If you’d like to support people in your local area by donating to your local food bank, you can find one operating near you at Food banks need donations in the form of dried and tinned foods. You can either hand it into a food bank directly or drop it off at a collection point in your local supermarket or community centre.

There’s a number of items which food banks need too which are outside the realm of your standard tins of soup and packets of pasta. These include:


Shampoo, shower gel, shaving foam, disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste,  – all everyday essential that many people simply can’t afford. Dig out that smellies set  you got last Christmas and drop it off at your local food bank.

Toilet roll

If you’re at the point where you can’t afford food, there’s a good chance other household essentials like loo roll won’t be high on your list of priorities.

Sanitary towels and tampons

Like loo roll, this is often an extra expense which many can’t afford. This gives women and girls back a bit of dignity – and if it’s there to pick up in the food bank, it prevents any awkward conversations too.


For families with small children, nappies are essential – and really expensive to purchase. Pop a packet in your trolley next time you’re in the shops – and maybe some baby wipes to go with them.

Baby food

On the same note, baby food is also really important. Tiny babies can’t get tucked into a tin of beans like Mum and Dad, so pick up some different baby food options, with the use-by date far enough ahead.

Tin opener

All those tins… And nothing to open them with. So stick in a cheap tin opener and donate it to those who need it!


Salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, herbs and spices, tomato purée, stock cubes… All easy, cheap items that can bring a meal to life.

Household items

Pop in some laundry detergent, laundry powder and washing up liquid – it’ll be hugely appreciated.

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