IT’S 9.30am. The food bank opens at 10 and there’s already a queue. It’s a sight familiar to the staff who work and volunteer at Glasgow’s South West Foodbank.

It’s Friday, and the Trussell Trust charity is occupying Hillington Park Parish Church, which is packed with mountains of bags containing everything from shampoo to tinned beans.

For the people who come here, Claire McCunnie says, it’s a last resort. But it’s a last resort more and more people are having to face.

“I thought we wouldn’t be here that long,” she says. “I had it in my head I’d be the one shutting the door but we’re still here.

“Something needs to change. We need to give people money. Food banks aren’t the answer. We shouldn’t be here.

“It’s disgusting. We should not be giving out the number of parcels we are.”

McCunnie’s been working at the food bank for 10 years. When she first started out as a volunteer, it was almost all benefits issues – particularly sanctions.

But McCunnie says that post-April, 90% of the people she speaks to are here because of the cost of living crisis with surging energy bills and rising food costs putting an unbearable strain on those on lower incomes.

At first it was food. Then food banks started giving out toiletries. The latest thing is fuel. Glasgow South West Foodbank is among a number of organisations looking into giving people power credits, both for those with key cards and those with direct debits.

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The food bank gives around 160 people parcels each week. That’s just the number of people who collect the food. Many will have families back home who will benefit from the charity, meaning the true number using food banks is much higher.

There are more new faces at food banks than there used to be as more and more people are pushed to the brink.

Donations are also taking a hit. McCunnie says previously people would purchase a buy one get one free deal, keeping one half and giving the other to their local food bank. But as wallets are squeezed fewer people are donating the other half.

Today is the first time Stephen has ever used a food bank. He’s been on Universal Credit for two months after his hours as a cleaner at a Covid centre dried up.

“I’ve not got any money,” he says, collecting two bags just in time for the food bank closing before a funeral takes place in the church. “I’m on Universal Credit and I get paid every month. You’re getting £210 and trying to live on that and run a house. I’m struggling. It’s hard to get by. This is my last resort to get through it.”

A staff member comes up to Stephen as we talk to ask how big his dog is. As well as food for people, the service also provides pet food.

“They need food too,” Claire says.

“It’s not just me struggling,” Stephen continues. “You see people with kids who are struggling as everything rises in price.”

More than anything, Stephen wants work. He’s been applying since he lost his last job but has had no luck so far.

Work though, is not always the final solution to poverty. In-work poverty is on the rise and in 2016, around 15% of those using food banks were employed.

That figure, volunteers say, is quickly rising. More and more people with cars, mortgages and jobs that previously put enough food on the table are relying on food banks to get by.

Andrew Thomas, a volunteer at the food bank, said he fears for the winter as the need for gas and electricity becomes more than what people can afford.

“Something has to give,” he says. “We have people here who have reasonable jobs but that’s not enough to cover everything.”

That includes those with mortgages, he says, as many people who were comfortable on previous interest rates facing a squeeze on their incomes following the Chancellor’s Budget which led to a surge in interest rates.

“People have to pay their mortgage,” he says. “I worry for the youngsters. There are kids who bought properties who stretched themselves because interest rates were low and now they are paying double what they were previously.”

Edward Kinnear was a new face when he first started using the food bank last year.

He worked all his adult life before the pandemic hit. But since the end of lockdown, he’s been using the service on and off to support him and his son.

“It’s the cost of living,” he says. “I’ve got a wee 10-year-old son I need to provide for. I worked in demolition for 30 odd years but the pandemic came and I’m stuck in the house for two years.”

During that time, he was diagnosed with arthritis and emphysema, making it harder for him to work in his industry.

He continues: “I never wanted to scrounge off anyone in my life. But if you’re sitting skint and you’ve got a 10-year-old boy you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

“If it wasn’t for these people [in the food bank] a lot of people would be in the shit.”

Food banks have become a lifeline for many people in the UK. More than bags of groceries, they’re increasingly providing advice, comfort, a place to chat, fuel and toiletries.

Stacked on the table as you walk in the door at the church in Cardonald are books sourced for a man who comes in each week and likes to read.

Others, staff say, just want a chat and be heard. For those who come in regularly, the volunteers will work with them to find out their best options and what agency or government department to talk to.

It’s a service staff don’t want to have to provide but as governments fail to supply basic needs to people across the UK, charities like food banks will be forced to pick up the slack.