The reality on the front lines of the city's food banks is coming apart at the seams as donations dwindle and demand soars amid the cost of living crisis.

"We knew it was only going to get worse," says Karen Neary, project officer at Crookston Community Group.

"We wished we were wrong. We hoped we were wrong. But unfortunately, we were right."

Glasgow Times: Karen Neary holding a Bank On Us donation bagKaren Neary holding a Bank On Us donation bag (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

Karen, of Pollok, told the Glasgow Times that the impacts of the cost of living are escalating as we enter the second year of the crisis.

She said: "Last year we were feeling the knock-on effects of the cost of living crisis.

"Ourselves and many other people in the third sector were all gearing up because we knew it was only the tip of the iceberg.

"We were hoping for the best and preparing for the worst."

Glasgow Times:

Self-referrals, which mostly account for people who have never used a food bank before, have skyrocketed at Crookston Community Group's food bank service.

Karen said: "Most of the newcomers are employed - families that have never needed help before.

"But with the cost of everything going up, they're just not making ends meet anymore.

"People are in absolute tears coming to us because they had always managed before and there is a pride that comes with that.

"To have always managed and then find out that you just can't anymore is upsetting for people and it's been hard."

Glasgow Times:

She added: "It's hard when you see proud people who have worked hard all their lives come in.

"People who have a working-class mentality that they will make do and never take what they don't need are coming to us devastated that they've had to resort to this.

"And we're having to tell them, it's not something you've done, you've done so well.

"Everyone needs a hand up now and again. It's not a handout, it's a hand up to get you back to you're equilibrium.

"It certainly affects you and I think if it didn't, you're no longer human."

Glasgow Times:

Members of the public that the food bank once relied on for donations are also feeling the pinch.

Karen said: "Some people can't afford to donate anymore.

"Community members that had five pounds to spare at the end of the week don't have it anymore.

"The need for support is increasing but donations have decreased.

"We're having to work harder to get donations to keep our food bank stocked because demand is outweighing supply. It's a hard circle."

Glasgow Times:

Crookston Community Group is one of the charities the Glasgow Times is highlighting as part of Bank on Us, our festive food bank appeal.

For anyone able to donate, Karen says that items like tinned meats are vital to help the charity stock food parcels with enough meals for four days.

She said: "Meals will include canned mince and carrots or chilli con carne, things like that go the fastest.

"I know it's a cliche but every little helps."

Readers with anything to spare are asked to fill bags supplied in our edition on Wednesday, November 15 with food items and hand them into one of our partner food banks, like Crookston Community Group.

Now in its fifth year, the campaign is proudly sponsored by Arnold Clark, Stagecoach, Allied Vehicles, Spar Scotland, Storage Vault and Stepchange.

Glasgow Times:

As well as the food drive, the Glasgow Times will be raising money for our Bank on Us toy drive via GoFundMe.

All proceeds will be used to purchase toys which will be distributed to charities across the city to be handed out to parents and put under the tree as we aim for every child in Glasgow to open a present on December 25. 

Crookston Community Group: 56, Beltrees Road, Glasgow, G53 5TF. Monday – Thursday from 10am – 3pm.

For a full list of partner food banks, click here.