AROUND 500 meals were distributed by the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank during a recent holiday lunch box trial scheme.

The organisation, which is run entirely by volunteers, said it was delighted to support 100 children over the Easter school holidays by handing out healthy food packages to those who missed out on their usual school dinner.

The programme was launched after the food bank reported a significant rise in the number of food parcels given out in the Helensburgh area in the run up to Christmas.

READ MORE: Rise in Helensburgh food bank use 'shames us all'

Julie Ward, food bank committee member, said the success of the trial period proved just how important the service is.

She said: "We had very positive feedback from all of the children supported, confirming that there is a definite need for such a service to help alleviate food insecurity during school holidays.

"We would like again to thank the GIVE Programme and all those who donated food items to support this project.

"A huge thanks must also go to our dedicated and loyal volunteers who worked so hard to deliver this.

"We will be running the holiday lunch box scheme over the school summer holidays and look forward to welcoming everyone along."

READ MORE: Progress report from Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank

Last month it was reported that independent food banks across Argyll and Bute, including the Helensburgh operation, had handed out 7,195 food parcels to people in need in the space of just 18 months.

Mary McGinley, chair of the group, which operates out of the British Red Cross Centre in East Princes Street and in Rosneath, previously highlighted the growing concern over the rise in the number of food bank users in the area, and stated that the idea for the holiday lunch box scheme was borne out of necessity.

READ MORE: Shock figures reveal extent of Argyll and Bute food bank use

She told the Advertiser last month: “We were aware that some council areas had introduced free meals during the school holidays.

“While we are not in a position to offer hot meals we intend to provide the ingredients for a healthy lunch time meal to replace the school meal which some children will be missing out on.

“We experienced a significant increase in the number of children requiring support at the food bank during the summer school holidays in 2018, compared with the previous year, and there is clearly a need for us to try to address some of the inequalities that exist within our local community.

“If we find that there is a demand for this new service we plan to continue it next year.”

Further details on the food bank's summer scheme will be released in the upcoming weeks.