The manager of Old Kilpatrick foodbank has offered a mobile foodshare service in Mountblow, after witnessing ‘profound poverty’ in the area.

Maureen Cummings initially began offering a foodbank service in the village she lives in due to the high dependency of her elderly neighbours who had been shielding.

However, despite everyone except those displaying Covid symptoms now being able to leave their homes as per government guidelines, the quantity of people accessing the foodbank has not dwindled and Maureen continues to offer services once a week in Bowling, Old Kilpatrick and Dalmuir.

In May, the foodbank first attracted a crowd of 21. On week commencing September 21, the foodbank supported 176 adults, 91 children and 13 pets.

Of those, 113 adults and 58 children came from Dalmuir.

She has now added Mountblow to her weekly visits, as on Wednesday, September 2, she was contacted and asked to provide an emergency food parcel to a resident of Quebec House.

Maureen was ‘disgraced’ and couldn’t believe the prevalence and severity of poverty she saw when she attended the address.

The former Letting-Agent told the Post: “When I pulled up, I actually thought it was a derelict building and couldn’t believe someone would actually live there.

“Doors and windows are boarded up and the inside entrance and landings were like something I’ve never seen.

“I knocked the door, but to be quite honest I didn’t expect a response but when the resident did, I couldn’t believe the squalor she was experiencing and all I had to offer were the basics, it was heartbreaking.”

The following week (September 23) she advertised beforehand that she would revisit the flats, as well as distributing to neighbouring flats, Montreal and Brunswick House at 2.30pm.

A line of 41 people had queued in the Quebec House car park, waiting for her to arrive with essential goods.

She spoke to one young man, aged 22, who asked if he needed to produce a passport, evidence of income or other document in order to receive food.

When she offered the young man a tin of soup as part of the parcel, to heat at home, he explained that he did not have any means to cook the food and could only accept cooked goods or dry goods such as crisps and cereal.

Maureen does not require referral from another service or proof of entitlement, as the food parcels are not registered to a charity and she believes those who wait outside, often in pouring rain, are in need.

She told the Post: “I am in no doubt that the Mountblow residents who attend the mobile food parcels are in need, there is a huge prejudice regarding people who do not need showing up but I am yet to experience this.

“As Covid measures have eased in Old Kilpatrick and Bowling, less and less residents have relied on us but they continue to donate every week.

“In the halls where I operate from those who turn up need to wait outside until their parcel is ready.

“We ask them how many are in their home, if they have pets, and what kinds of things they require as poverty comes in many shapes, some people need food and some need toiletries and some people have babies or a wee dog who needs fed too.

“I am incredibly concerned over the increase in people accessing the service and what Winter will bring.

“So far, we have seen people wait for the best part of an hour with just a t-shirt on so as to collect their parcel, I can’t imagine they are attending if they have food in their fridge.

“When it starts snowing and it’s baltic, I am concerned people will not attend through lack of warm clothes or funds for travel to get to us, it’s such a shame that this continues to be a crisis in 2020.”

Maureen has now left her job at the Letting agents where she previously worked and has plans to grow the food parcels delivery scheme and help in more charitable projects in her local community.