The job of organising donations to the Moray Foodbank in the run-up to Christmas has become a full-time vocation.
Volunteers have been spending as much as 50 hours a week preparing parcels for residents who faced going without vital provisions during the festive season.
Between April and November, the group received 1291 referrals – about 200 more than the same time last year.
And, the closer the festive season has loomed, they busier they have become in dealing with donations from kind-hearted locals.
Carrie Marlow, volunteer development officer, said: “I have been here for the last six months and I have seen a real rise in the last couple of months.
“We probably have volunteers in about 50 hours a week. It’s been good to see the generosity of people donating as well as the amount of time they’re giving – there’s been a real mix of people as well, which is nice to see.
“We’ve been getting more referrals, but it has been matched by more things being handed in. There are a lot of Christmassy items which have allowed us to make the boxes a bit more special.”
Throughout December, visitors to the food bank’s base on Elgin’s high street have been invited to take part in a “reverse advent calendar” initiative.
Instead of taking chocolate out of boxes every day, people have been encouraged to deposit items into the baskets instead.
Popular items this month have included mince pies, selection boxes, toiletries and Christmas cake.
Project manager Mairi McCallum added: “The reverse advent calendar has proved really popular. Schools have been doing it and a lot of businesses have been too.
“It’s been hard to pinpoint why we have been so much busier – it’s probably been a range of things.
“Our profile has increased, so people are maybe more aware of us, there could be benefits issues and Moray is quite a low-wage area. It’s hard to say which one is having a bigger impact.”