A Tayside food bank volunteer has warned peak demand for help is yet to hit, as autumn job losses make an impact.
Eleanor Kelleher, coordinator of Perth and Kinross Foodbank, said the group is now preparing for demand for food parcels to soar in the months leading up to winter.
She said: “In terms of people coming in we have not had as many as we thought we would because a lot of temporary food banks and food larders popped up.
“This cushioned the blow for us and meant folk could go elsewhere when movement was restricted.
“But that didn’t show us the reality of the demand, and the demand has not hit its peak yet.
“We are still to see that as we get into the winter and as more people have to leave their jobs.
“People who have maybe been relying on savings will see that dry up too and our numbers will creep up.
“It is a few months from a crisis before people end up at a foodbank, so the peak has not happened for us yet.”
Eleanor described the start of lockdown as a “whirlwind” because elderly volunteers had to go home to protect themselves.
“We were operating with minimal people and we had to change the way we worked, changed our hours, how our front door was operated,” she said.
“It was a lot of scrabbling about and upheaval but we managed and people have continued to donate very generously.”
Eleanor said many people helped during lockdown to deliver food parcels to people who were self-isolating, and community safety wardens helped on the front door.
She added: “We had people who had never volunteered before coming week in and week out for months, and that really saved our bacon.
“We also had a lot of people self-referring to us through a new community support phoneline.
“For people who don’t know how we operate or have normally managed no problem and don’t have contact with the job centre or social work department but are now at home worrying about food, can call that number and get help.
“There is lots of food coming into us and we are going to need that all the way up to the winter and with what’s going to happen further down the line.”
Volunteers at the foodbank have also recently reopened their branch in Blairgowrie after being closed for months during lockdown.
Food parcels can be collected from the Cutlog Vennel foodbank between noon and 4pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.