A charity that helps people in need access emergency food provisions revealed the harrowing reality at ground zero of the cost of living crisis.

"We have a lot of people who previously donated to us now contacting us for support," says Clair Coyle, of West Dunbartonshire Community Food Share.

The charity manager said: "Since 2020 we have seen a massive decrease in donations and at the same time we are seeing a massive increase in need in our community."

Glasgow Times: Charity manager Clair Coyle at West Dunbartonshire Community Food ShareCharity manager Clair Coyle at West Dunbartonshire Community Food Share (Image: Colin Mearns)

Glasgow Times: Charity manager Clair Coyle and Jamie Chisholm at West Dunbartonshire Community Food ShareCharity manager Clair Coyle and Jamie Chisholm at West Dunbartonshire Community Food Share (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

Last winter, the charity mostly helped unemployed people but over the past year the number of working households seeking support has 'drastically increased'.

Clair said: "I spoke to a woman on the phone the other day who said she has been working since she was 16.

"Now, her husband is experiencing poor health and for the first time, she is in a situation where she needs to ask for help.

"In the last few weeks, she has phoned various places and there has been no help available - the help she got from us that day was the first."

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Glasgow Times:

Choking up, she added: "The way she was talking I could just hear the hopelessness.

"People are feeling really downtrodden because they're trying their best, they're out working.

"You would expect if you're out working full time that you could pay your bills, live comfortably and now have to worry.

"But that just isn't the case anymore. Statutory support does not seem to be moving in the right direction."

More and more people are calling the charity and telling workers how their incomes or pensions are not enough to cover bills and food.

Clair said: "That's been the big difference this year. We're also supporting more pensioners than ever before.

"Pensioners are phoning us and telling us they have no food in the house and no money to top up their gas and electric metres.

"Fuel poverty has been the breaker for a lot of people.

"Trying to keep the lights on, cook and be able to heat homes is pushing pensioners and working families over the edge."

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West Dunbartonshire Community Food Share 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, Clair says any food items that can be cooked quickly are preferred as people they help can't afford to have their hob or oven on for a long time.

She said: "People are asking for items that can be microwaved or that can be warmed up in a pot rather than cooked from scratch."

The food share is also keen for donations of basic staples like tinned vegetables and meats, rice, cereals and sauces.

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 West Dunbartonshire Community Food Share.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

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

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. 

West Dunbartonshire Community Food Share Unit 21, Leven Valley Enterprise Centre, Castlehill Road, Dumbarton G82 5BN 01389 764135 Mon-Fri 10am-4pm

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