Hawick Salvation Army handed out a record 100 food parcels this week.
The charity has pulled out all the stops in a bid ensure no one goes hungry over the festive period and food bank organiser Evelyn Sangster says she’s been overwhelmed at the generosity of Teries.
Speaking to the Hawick News on Tuesday, Mrs Sangster said: “The people of Hawick have been brilliant. They have given so much. I have even had folk stop me on the street with donations of £20 and £50 for the food bank. It really is uplifting to see such generosity. And I would also like to thank the Hawick News for helping to highlight this huge problem.”
However, as the New Year approaches, Mrs Sangster sees no let-up in demand, adding: “This has been the busiest time ever. We have been inundated with requests and referrals for help.
“We get referrals from Social Security, Citizens Advice Bureau, the Welfare Fund and Criminal Justice. The situation is getting worse, and something that affects all age groups.
“We usually deliver around 40 parcels a month but in the last week we have handed out 100. The situation is dire. Some people only have the clothes they stand up in. And that is a really sad position to be in.
“We are seeing some real poverty and to be perfectly honest I never thought I would see this in my own country. It is really awful.”
And as part of the Toys for Families Appeal, many Hawick youngsters will also benefit over the festive period.
Mrs Sangster, whose husband Gilbert is also a Salvation Army member, added: “Hopefully we are able to make a difference to some people. And the toys will mean a lot to the youngsters. We have also been able to help folk with bedding and toiletries.”
Mrs Sangster explained that the food parcels handed out contain essentials required for day-to-day living: “These are things most folk take for granted and include, bread and butter, soup, tinned beans, spaghetti and meat, potatoes, veg, tinned fish, tea, coffee, pasta sauce and puddings.”
However, Mrs Sangster fears the New Year with planned changes to the way benefits are paid may mean an ever greater drain on resources.
“I have set up a meeting between myself and local and national politicians for the New Year.
The new Universal Credit, which will see a change in the way housing benefit is paid, may well add to the problems many folk are experiencing.”