BOSSES at Renfrewshire Foodbank say they are anticipating a tough winter period after seeing a sharp rise in people using the service throughout lockdown.

Between the start of restrictions on March 23 and the end of April, the charity saw the number of people needing food parcels rocket by almost a quarter compared to the same period last year.

In May, there was an 11 per cent increase in service users.

The surge has come at a time when the charity has only been able to have four volunteers in the Renfrew warehouse at once, as workers battle to keep preparing parcels while staying two metres from each other.

There would normally be around 100 volunteers working but this has been cut to around 40, due to many being deemed at high risk of severe illness if they catch Covid-19.

Senior manager Elizabeth Alexander said: “We have seen a gradual increase in people using the foodbank throughout lockdown and we are now preparing for what is going to be quite a hard winter I think.

“We’ve had people on furlough who are not quite managing on their income and we’re expecting there will be people who won’t go back to work after furlough.

“I think things are going to get much tougher.”

Thankfully, due to the generosity of local people, the foodbank is in a strong position to continue helping families to make ends meet.

People in Houston have donated four-and-a-half tonnes of food – or 11,500 meals – over the course of the pandemic by leaving parcels at Houston and Killellan Kirk.

Elizabeth added: “The community in Renfrewshire have been so generous with donations. We cannot thank them enough.”

Meanwhile, as donations of food have kept coming in, staff and volunteers received a delivery of 100 hand-made facemasks from Gayle Pollock, in Howwood, last Friday.

Gayle, who recently set up a mask tree in her village where people can collect a face covering in exchange for a charity donation, teamed up with a fellow sewer in Johnstone to help keep foodbank workers and visitors safe.

“We were looking for masks for all of the folks working in the foodbank because it’s better if we can have ones which can be reused,” said Elizabeth.

“We heard Gayle was making masks for her tree, so we wondered if she could do some for the foodbank. She said she would be delighted.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond


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