As the cost of living crisis hits everyone’s wallets this Christmas a foodbank boss has made a heartfelt appeal for the public’s support as volunteers prepare for a “significant” increase in demand.
Fuels prices have been rising since the invasion of Ukraine and Europe seeks alternative fuel sources as ties have been cut with Russia.
Cfine chief executive Fiona Rae is urging people across the north and north-east to back this year’s Big Christmas Food Appeal and give a helping hand to those struggling.
She said this festive period is expected to be particularly difficult for families due to the additional pressures caused by the cost of living crisis.
Many are now torn between heating and eating, with thousands of people bearing the brunt of the soaring prices of energy bills and household essentials.
The charity offers lifeline support to families across Grampian, the Highlands and islands, distributing millions of emergency food parcels to vulnerable individuals.
But as the festive period approaches – with more and more people going through their doors every day – Ms Rae expects the need for their services to become even greater.
“This Christmas is going to be much worse than previous years,” she said.
“Families would want to make sure that their children have what they would like for Christmas in addition to thinking how they have to buy food and pay the bills.
“There is a significant increase in demand, and on a fairly regular basis, we would see somebody coming in for help that has never had to use this service before.
“We have an excess of 500 people accessing our services every week – not only for emergency food provision but also for assistance with benefits and budgeting.
“And I would imagine that the numbers will increase even more in the next few weeks as we get closer to Christmas and the pressures go up a gear.”
‘We need to work together’
That’s where the Big Christmas Food Appeal comes in.
The Press and Journal, Evening Express, Original 106 and Energy Voice are working together to raise money – and donations – for Cfine, while also highlighting the work other groups and volunteers do to keep their communities fed.
Throughout 2022 we’ve been signposting people to the help available in their communities, and will continue to do that – as well as trying to tackle the stigma around food poverty.
Ms Rae said campaigns like ours are hugely important for allowing their work to continue.
“The Big Christmas Food Appeal is a fantastic way to raise more awareness and bring it home to all of us just how much harder things will be,” she said.
“Staff and volunteers are aware of how much more difficult this year is and we want to make sure that we can support every single person that comes through our doors.
“The additional support that we can get from the public will make such a difference to so many and we really hope people will come on board like they have in the past.
“We can’t do this alone, we need to work together.”
Along with preparing emergency food packages, Cfine is now also looking at more long-term ways to support families through the hardest of times.
The charity is aiming to invest most of their financial donations in purchasing cooking equipment such as air fryers and slow cookers to help households reduce cost.