A man that has been forced to "live in the cold" said he "wouldn’t be here” if it wasn’t for a warm hub.

Thomas Cox has hailed a food bank for being his “lifeline” after being unable to afford to put his own heating on.

The 52-year-old, from Dalmuir, attends Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels most days where he gets a hot meal, warm space to relax in, and groceries to take home.

Thomas sadly fell on hard times after losing his mother and developing a gambling addiction to cope with her loss.

Clydebank Post:

They had enjoyed bingo together but after her death, from bowel cancer, he began playing slot machines to fill the void.

Now he has kicked the addiction but living in the cost-of-living crisis has made getting by difficult for a lot of people like Thomas, who now relies on the kindness of others.

He struggles with anxiety and depression but is determined to stay positive about his situation as “money isn’t everything”.

He told our sister title the Glasgow Times: “I put my heating on for ten minutes but it was far too expensive, it took too much money off me.

“I just need to live in the cold now, I can’t afford not to.

“I used to have a gambling addiction after I lost my mum, I have stopped that now but all my bills have skyrocketed so things are still hard.

“Places like Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels and my pastor really are a lifeline. They help me so much, I don’t think I would be here without them.

“I know everyone is struggling right now but money isn’t everything, you can’t buy a smile.”

Clydebank Post:

Latest figures revealed that almost 200,000 food bank parcels were provided to people across Scotland in one year.

The Trussell Trust’s network of banks handed out 197,000 food packages in Scotland during the 12 months before March 2022.

Meanwhile, Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels went from helping around 60 families at the start of the year to 500 a month in October.

Now Thomas hopes to repay some of the generosity he has been shown by saving up £20 for food bank boss Maureen Cummings, so she could buy a child a Christmas gift.

It comes after he spent a lot of time in hospital as a little boy after his appendix burst leaving him “at death's door”.

He was just seven-years-old but remembers Santa Claus visiting his bedside and giving him a toy car which “meant the world to him”.

Now he hopes to give other children a special gift they can cherish like he did.

Clydebank Post:

Thomas said: “I remember Santa Claus was visiting everyone and having everyone and I got a toy, it really meant the world to me.

“My appendix had burst and I was at death's door, but I remember the kindness. The nurses also gave me some chewits which was great.

“These wee things stick to you, so I wanted to save up and do the same for some other boy about the same age that I would have been then.”

Maureen said: “I am at the food bank every day and am constantly surprised by people’s generosity.

“A lot of the time it is the people who have the least that give the most, it is so amazing to see.

“Thomas gave me the money in a Christmas card in coins and asked that I get a gift for a boy around six or seven.

“I will make sure the money goes towards that, our community hub can really bring out the best in people.”

You can donate to Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels by visiting their social media pages or their Amazon Wishlist available here.

You can also pay their Pay Pal here contact@okfp.org.uk