A STARVING eight-year-old boy was stealing sachets of tomato sauce, adding boiling water and making soup because he wasn’t eating, “from Monday to Friday.”

A community group in the South Side of Glasgow, which runs a foodbank, told how the child was referred by a concerned teacher who caught him stealing from the school canteen.

The little boy later sent a letter to Crookston Community Group, saying: “Thank you for giving my mum food so we can eat.”

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It comes as food banks warned that the rise in demand for their services is “unsustainable”, with MSPs being told of an impending “crisis point”.

Holyrood’s Social Security Committee heard how children desperate for food go through parcels as soon as they are handed over to see if there is something they can eat straight away.

One man had not eaten any food for four days before coming for an emergency package, with the committee told he had been surviving on water alone over that period.

Suzanne McGlone of Crookston Community Group, said: “He was mixing the sachets with boiling water to make soup because there was nothing else.

“It was a local school who referred him to us.

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“The parents had really bad mental health issues. When they were identified, we delivered food parcels and made sure the tins had ring pulls so the little lad could open them himself.”

While the incident would shock most people, Suzanne said it is actually, “the lower end of the scale.”

She said: “Child poverty is an epidemic.

“We have been opening our doors every school holiday because we identified that in our area, around 70% of children get free school meals. We were feeding 40-60 kids every week for six weeks.”

Laura Ferguson, of the Trussell Trust charity, which has 53 food banks across Scotland, said demand increased by up to 80% at some of its centres after the rollout of Universal Credit welfare reforms.

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She spoke about the “invaluable work” food banks do, telling MSPs: “There is no doubt that food banks save lives.

“They are there, they provide emotional support, they provide wraparound services to help people in their situation.”

But she added: “We can not forever rely on food banks to pick up the pieces of a failed welfare state.

“We cannot further institutionalise food banks, they do do amazing work but they just can not be here forever.”

The Trussell Trust handed out more than 170,000 food parcels to those in need in Scotland last year - a rise of 17% on the previous year.