A FOOD bank is asking for help after marking its fourth anniversary.

Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels (OKFP) was launched in May 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic to help members of the community.

It began with just four volunteers but now has more than 40 and provides 500 households a month with food and toiletries. 

The charity is based out of Napier Hall after previously having a residence on Station Road.

And founder Maureen Cummings opened up on the essential service that the food bank provides.

Clydebank Post: "We have worked with over 150 volunteers since we started, with a lot coming and going," she said.

"We feed roughly 1200 people a month.

"The biggest increase in the demographics of people we have seen using the service are in working families and those who are retired.

"When we first started we did not have any working families who came to us for help and seen none in the first two years.

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"However, in the last 12 months, they have made up 20 per cent of the households we have helped."

As well as providing food and toiletries, the charity also aims to combat social isolation and offer a safe space for children and families.

Clydebank Post: And Maureen explained the other initiatives the organisation are involved in.

"You always think elderly people are okay financially but that is not always the case," she continued.

"There is a high number of over-65s who attend our community side of things, such as our chair yoga and knitting group, because they are now coming in regularly for food parcels.

"They have confidence in the process because they know that we provide a safe space.

"It is important for people to know that it is okay to ask for help."

The charity has volunteers ranging from aged nine to 82.

Clydebank Post: And Maureen explained the lifeline the organisation has offered to those in the community who are struggling.

"The number of people using the service has been stabilising month on month," she said.

"Where we have noticed an increase is in the number of people using our Chatty Café which we run alongside the food pantry.

"It is open Monday to Friday between 12pm and 4pm. It also doubles as a warm hub during the winter.

"We have a lot of families, those living on their own and on small budgets coming to see us in the afternoon over the winter.

"They get to have a hot meal and some company during a difficult time.

"We do not differentiate, we have a free menu in our café for people who cannot afford a donation.

"There is never a case where someone can’t come in and be treated like an ordinary customer."

While Maureen is grateful for the donations the group have received over the last four years, she admitted resources are currently stretched thin.

And she has appealed to the wider community for help.

"Food donations are unfortunately at an all-time low," she added. 

"We completely understand that people are struggling.

Clydebank Post: "There was a time when people would pick up an extra bag for us when they were doing their shopping but the cost of living crisis has made that more difficult.

"We have up to 5000 items of food and toiletries leaving our pantry every month.

"At the minute we only have 1400 items coming in. It is unsustainable."