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Tales from the Food Bank: and the biggest growth industry is ...

Today's food banking involves me lifting around half a ton.

Not all at once, of course, but a bit of maths reminds me how much food we shift.

Heart of Scotstoun Community Centre is competitive and seem determined to regularly break their own record as a collecting centre, so there is 130kg of stuff there when I pick it up this week.

I load it into my car and unload it at the food bank - that's 260kg of lifting - then I am dispatched to collect from the Knightswood shopping centre pawnbrokers, another permanent local collection point. They have 90kg, shifted into the car and out of it, giving me a total lift of 440kg, plus a couple of parcels I make up and, being called in as muscle by some of the slighter volunteers, shifting 30kg boxes of food, 500kg easy.

Admin manager Kyle has produced a report on the first seven months of the Glasgow North West Food Bank, from May to December 31 2013, and the figures are sobering. The amount of food collected was 20.5 tons with almost 15 tons going out. I think the same period this year will see much higher figures.

In that period the bank had 1,021 referrals from 17 agencies, to provide food for 1,276 adults and 1,001 children, each getting three days of food, roughly 20,000 meals.

Sadly a quarter of a ton of donations is out of date - the bane of our lives - or damaged packets and badly-dented cans.

Rigorous data collection is essential for a charity: it has to show its passing donations on to the right people.

But such big numbers must also be a bloody big stick with which to beat the powers-that-be into stopping the poisonous policies that have produced the food-bank boom.

Contextual targeting label: 
Food and drink

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