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Thousands Using Foodbanks for Non-Food Essentials

Tuesday December 5 2017

 

Foodbank charity the Trussell Trust has called for urgent action on low incomes and destitution, as a new report reveals thousands of households in Scotland are forced to use foodbanks for non-food essentials.

The first survey into the non-food items distributed by Trussell Trust foodbanks in Scotland reveals that 90% provide nappies; feminine hygiene products; soap and shower gel; toothbrushes and toothpaste; shampoo and conditioner; toilet roll and deodorant on top of their standard emergency food parcel. 71% are able to go further and offer additional items such as pet food, cleaning products, washing powder, shaving foam and razors.

Laura Ferguson, the Trussell Trust’s Area Manager for Scotland, said: “It is shameful that so many people in Scotland must suffer the indignity of not having enough money to afford the absolute basics. Not just food, but soap, toothpaste and even feminine hygiene products.

“We know that the majority of people referred to foodbanks in our network are supported by working-age benefits, and time and again our data shows the main reasons people are referred to us are problems, cuts and changes to these benefits.

“Our generous donors and the volunteers and staff in foodbanks will strive to be there for people who would otherwise face going hungry. But we feel strongly that it should not be left to any charity to pick up the pieces of a welfare safety net that is failing to maintain basic living standards for all who need it.”

The report warns that it is likely to underrepresent the true scale of the issue as it is difficult to measure underlying need for feminine hygiene products based on the number of requests, as the stigma surrounding menstruation may present a barrier to individuals asking for help.

In fact, data reveals that such products are provided nearly ten times more often in response to a volunteer’s question, rather than an individual’s request. Volunteers therefore use various methods to protect people’s dignity, such as discreetly asking if items are needed, providing them in every parcel for households with females, or placing them in ‘choosing boxes’ alongside other toiletries.


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