Kind-hearted readers of the Barrhead News helped put smiles on the faces of those less well off over the festive season by rallying round to support East Renfrewshire’s foodbank.

Our appeal, launched at the end of November, asked readers to share in the season of giving by donating essential foodstuffs to people struggling to make ends meet.

And your generous response delighted foodbank organisers and volunteers, who this week said a heartfelt thanks for the support.

Foodbank manager Stan Esson said: “The support generated by the Barrhead News certainly boosted donations and helped spread festive cheer and goodwill.”

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When the Barrhead News launched the appeal, the foodbank stock had seen a dramatic reduction throughout 2019 as a result of unprecedented demand from people struggling to cope on low income.

There was an immediate need for tins of fruit, rice pudding, fish, meat, vegetables and spaghetti.

UHT milk, fruit juice in cartons, jars of jam and small jars of coffee were also needed.

Stan said: “There was a great response to the appeal, which means that the stock, which was only around one ton in mid-November, has gone up to eight tons, which shows how generous people have been.”

However, he stressed there is no room for complacency as the level of poverty, although perhaps not as severe as in other areas, remains very significant in East Renfrewshire.

Stan added: “Just how deep it goes, we don’t know.

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“There are people in need who don’t come to us, whereas others have been coming to us continuously and have become almost dependent on us, which wasn’t the aim of the foodbank when we started but that’s the reality of the situation.

“At present, we are getting around 50 requests a week and the food is flowing in, which is very encouraging.”

Stan paid tribute to the dedicated team of volunteers who ensure the foodbank operations run smoothly.

He said: “We have 70 volunteers who do a great job in keeping the service going throughout the year.”

Support from the public, including schools, churches and individuals was also contributing to the foodbank’s success, he said, and they were also indebted to the support shown by ASDA and Waitrose, in Newton Mearns, and Tesco, in Barrhead, where customers regularly donate items to foodbank boxes.

However, Stan added that the need for supplies continues unabated and donations should be dropped off directly at their warehouse, based at 146 Main Street, Barrhead.

The foodbank is open on Tuesdays, between noon and 2pm, and on Fridays, from 2pm until 4pm.

Items should be donated, if possible, in reusable bags, so that they can be easily distributed to those in need.