HUNDREDS of people in Glasgow are expected to go hungry over the festive period, with the numbers turning to food banks at a worrying high.

New figures from charity The Trussell Trust, which runs four food banks in the city, show the numbers accessing their lifeline services has more than doubled.

Some 27,603 meals have been handed out by just three food banks in the city in the last three months.

In the six months from April to September, 2218 men, women and children were fed by the charity.

But in the last three months this figure has shot up to 3067.

And as each person is given enough food to last them three days, this adds up to 27,603 meals.

Since September, 1417 have been fed by the Truss-ell Trust food bank in Scotstoun, 1365 by the Govanhill branch and 285 by the service in Parkhead.

That is 29 people a day, compared to 12 people a day in the first six months of 2013/14.

The number of people forced to live on handouts is expected to continue to rise over Christmas as more see finances stret-ched to breaking point.

And with more than 15 food banks in the city run by other groups and churches, these latest figures are said to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Each single person who is referred to a Trussell Trust food bank gets two bags of non-perishable food, a family is given four bags and single parents with one child are allocated three bags.

At Christmas they are also given a festive bag including extra treats.

Audrey Flannagan, who manages the Trussell Trust food bank at the Elim Church in Govanhill, said: "There is pressure to spend extra money on gifts at this time of year and some people just don't have the income to do this.

"Many try their best to budget but this can be badly hampered by a last-minute bill or having to spend more to heat homes during a cold snap.

IN some cases just £2 or £3 extra can be enough to cause problems.

"That might not seem like a lot, but it is to people who are really struggling to make ends meet."

Audrey added that although the food bank is busy at this time of year - they fed 51 people on Mon-day alone - it has been flooded with donations.

She added: "We fed 682 people in 2012/13 and we are on track to feed 3500 people in 2013/14.

"The biggest problem is benefits sanctions - payments are being stopped for weeks.

"We had one man who was recently released from prison. His partner and their two young kids had been claiming benefits for three and had to reapply as a family of four. But the existing benefits were stopped while the new application was processed and the family were left with nothing."

She added: "We see some harrowing cases but the kindness shown by the public, particularly at this time is overwhelming.

"People are incredibly generous. We have been inundated with donations."

The number of Trussell Trust food banks across Scotland has grown from one to 43 in two years.

In Glasgow the figure has jumped from one this time last year to four.

The newest branch, covering the south west, is in Ibrox Parish Church, but it travels every week to Cardonald and Pollok, with plans to add a fourth stop in Govan.

Greater Pollok Counc-illor David McDonald, who helped set it up, said: "We decided to establish a travelling food bank because people who don't have enough money to eat don't have the money for travel.

"Stories of people walk-ing miles for food - like the case of the man who trekked from Easterhouse to Govanhill, as reported in the Evening Times, are sadly too familiar."