MORE than 200 children living in poverty in Helensburgh and Lomond were supported by the area's food bank over the school summer holidays.

The volunteer-run group set up a holiday lunch box scheme to provide emergency food for youngsters going without a healthy daily meal during the six-week hiatus.

And the free offer was taken up by 212 children, with the food bank issuing 1,060 take-home hot meals, covering Monday to Friday for each of the six weeks.

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A statement on the food bank's Facebook page said: "We had a great uptake of our holiday lunches.

"The feedback from all families was extremely positive and confirmed the ongoing need for such provision.

"We would like to thank the following for their support in facilitating this project: Helensburgh and District Round Table, The Rotary Club, The Give Programme, Health and Wellbeing Network, Highland District Association, Michael and Anna Curley, our local schools, Helensburgh Co-op, Waitrose Community Fund, family liaison workers at Hermitage Academy, local churches and the people of our community.

READ MORE: Holiday lunch boxes 'essential' to fight child hunger, says Helensburgh food bank team

"Lastly a big thanks to our team of dedicated and loyal volunteers, without whom we could not have provided this invaluable service.

"We will be offering holiday lunches again over the October holidays, more information to follow."

While the initiative has been hailed a success by organisers, Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara says the situation is dispiriting.

“It is both shocking and deeply depressing that in this town, more than 1,000 free daily meals were handed out to our children during the school holidays,” he said.

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“While I applaud the great work being done by the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, I also despair that today in the United Kingdom – supposedly the fifth richest economy in the world – so many of our fellow citizens and particularly our children have to rely on food parcels in order to survive.

“It is unforgivable that Tories’ ideologically driven, austerity agenda has forced people, including many families with one or more adults in full-time employment, into being dependent on charity for one of the basics of life.”