OVER 350 meals are being delivered individually to homeless people in Glasgow every day in what is believed to be the city’s largest co-ordinated mobilisation of food parcels by local charities and community groups.
Half a dozen charities and groups have come together – in what is being described as an unprecedented move – to ensure everyone in the city’s emergency homeless accommodation never goes hungry and remains safe and well, during the COVID-19 crisis.
The response involves Simon Community Scotland, Help for the Homeless (H4TH), Destiny Church, The Marie Trust, Social Bite and Turning Point Scotland (TPS).
Because of the pandemic, the traditional method of providing meals – namely, operating from a single venue – has had to be turned on its head, to ensure social distancing.
So, meals are being delivered individually, not least because temporary and emergency accommodation tend not to have many cooking facilities, but a desire to reduce the need for people to gather en masse in the City, putting themselves and others at risk of coronavirus.
The meals are being delivered following the provision of microwaves to everyone who needs one. Two weeks ago, Simon Community Scotland took over a hotel in the city, to provide individual rooms for people who are homeless, and have launched an appeal on the Just Giving website, to help cover the costs of that.
A combined £4,000 raised by staff and volunteers at Help for the Homeless and Turning Point Scotland has allowed for the purchase of the microwaves, with an additional £1,000 donated by Simon Community Scotland.
Melody Whitley, from Help for the Homeless, said: “I’m just amazed and delighted at the speed and willingness for everyone to get on board to make sure all of the people in this situation have a hot meal. From everyone who has donated money, organised logistics and to all of the fabulous groups supplying and delivering all of the food: thank you.”
Frances O’Donnell, from Turning Point Scotland, added: “This crisis has brought together a variety of groups and businesses that have discovered a common goal and have seen the benefits of joint working and sharing of resources directed at those most in need. Hopefully, in future, we can continue this co-ordinated approach.”
The total of 2,500 meals a week are being provided each evening by a variety of restaurants and cafes in the city, including 1051 GWR and Well-Fed Cafe with Social Bite providing packed lunches too.
Glasgow City Mission and The Invisibles voluntary organisation have each offered to help distribute the food, plus other essentials such as clothing and toiletries.
Says Lorraine McGrath, chief executive at Simon Community Scotland: “A crisis often brings out the best in people and we’re seeing that here with so many people and groups coming together to make sure people are safe and have access to good food.
“This is a difficult time and we’re working to help people to self-isolate. We don’t want people putting themselves or others at risk by coming into the city when we can get the food to them.”
Megan Thomson, service leader at Simon Community Scotland, added: “We are open for food heroes to come join us in supporting people who are struggling at this moment in their lives and have the same concerns, fears and restrictions we all face in these unprecedented times.
“Whether you are one person, a community group or a company with resources, we would love to hear from you.
“The groups providing all of the cooking are stretching themselves and going above and beyond, so any additional help to provide these meals would be incredible.
“We are also happy to accept vouchers or kettle food donations for food parcels or bulk food donations to distribute to the teams who are cooking all of the lovely meals going out.”
Notes for editors:
For more information, contact Megan Thomson at Simon Community Scotland at email@example.com or 07507 795 865.
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Contact: Lorraine McGrath