THERE is a lovely woman in the east end of Glasgow who spends her mornings helping out at the local foodbank. As well as making up the food parcels, she has become a shoulder to cry on for many of the parents who use the service, struggling to keep mind, body and soul together as they try to feed their children.

There is much more to this volunteer’s story, which I first heard about as part of my work on the Glasgow Community Champions Awards. The annual event, which has been organised by The Herald’s sister title the Evening Times for more than a decade, celebrates the work being done by selfless, hardworking people who give up their time to help others.

The nominees often reflect the biggest issues faced by communities across the country – similar events run in Greenock and Dunfermline – and for the last few years, food poverty has been high on the agenda.

Food poverty is a term which has seeped into our consciousness, slipping into daily usage on the news, in education and in workplaces, but it is woefully inadequate as a description of the hideous truth behind it – some families in our neighbourhoods, in our towns and cities and groups of friends, do not have enough to eat.

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I got a message this week from a friend who was aghast to discover the publication of a children’s book about a young girl’s visit to a foodbank with her mother.

There is nothing wrong with the book itself – It’s a No-Money Day, by Kate Milner, is a beautiful picture story, with lovely illustrations and compassion at its heart – but the very fact it exists at all is the problem.

My heart sank when I read the book’s description. “Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed they have to rely on the kindness of others...”

Picture books should be about diabolical cats who steal into Buckingham Palace and rhinos who eat pancakes and all manner of equally silly things – but this is where we are.

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Foodbanks have become so necessary, they are just accepted, and it’s shameful. Our communities support them and use them as if it’s just a part of the fabric of our lives. Reports earlier this year, based on research carried out by the Independent Food Aid Network, revealed more than 480,000 food parcels were handed out to Scots over an 18-month period.

This is a depressing and upsetting picture, and one that our politicians should put at the forefront of their minds as we career towards a Christmas election.