The Aberdeenshire South Food Bank, located in Banchory, celebrated its first anniversary last week after a busy year.
Affiliated with the Trussell Trust, a national organisation of food bank expertise, the ASFB is run by a dedicated team of nearly 50 volunteers.
The foodbank is based in Banchory but serves the whole of south Aberdeenshire from Stonehaven and Inverbervie to Braemar and upper Deeside and from Donside to Westhill and the edge of Aberdeen.
The Food Bank store room is located in the annexe on Mount Street behind the West Church, and is open Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 1-3pm.
People who find themselves in crisis due to a change of circumstance or for whatever reason can access help through local social services - social workers, health visitors, doctors, ministers - who hold vouchers entitling the individual, couple or family to three days’ worth of food.
It is intended that this gift of food and toiletries can bridge the gap until the crisis is resolved.
An expanding network of locations in south Aberdeenshire is being set up (including Stonehaven, Aboyne) where Emergency Food Boxes are held to enable quicker access for people living in rural or remoter parts of the shire.
Project manager Don Morrison said: “In the first year, the ASFB has helped 617 people and given out 6330 kg of food.
“We have been very grateful for the generosity of folk who have kept our store cupboards full, and for the willingness of our volunteers.”
ASFB will be participating in the ‘semi-annual’ Tesco collection from July 3-5, where the focus will be on collecting foodstuffs which are in short supply.
Mr Morrison said: “On an organisational level...we are looking for a new secretary and a new project manager.”
Food banks and food aid charities gave more than 20 million meals last year to people in the UK who could not afford to feed themselves.
This marks a 54 per cent increase on the previous 12 months, according to a report published last week by Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and The Trussell Trust.
The report details how a “perfect storm of changes” to the social security system, benefit sanctions, low and stagnant wages, insecure and zero-hours contracts and rising food and energy prices are all contributing to the increasing numbers of meals handed out.