THE festive season may be over but the ‘Food for Families’ project in Inverness is still running in the winter chill to help elderly or disadvantaged people to have a hot meal.
The number of meals distributed in and around Inverness and Easter Ross as far north as Tain has now passed the 2,000 mark, revealed Inverness businessperson, David Sutherland, who, with his wife, Anne, launched the initiative three years ago.
He said: “Christmas may have come and gone but the need is still very much there and we’ll continue with our huge volunteer network of cooking and preparing wholesome meals of mince and tatties right through to the end of the month.
“Extending a helping hand to those in need in this way shows a magnificent spirit of generosity by the teams who are still cooking their meals every week.”
Among those preparing the latest batch was a team of volunteers from the Highland Homeless Trust, who administer and co-ordinate the network of churches and other volunteers participating in the project, many for the first time.
Volunteer chefs at the latest cooking session included 17 year-old Roseanne Gilbert, who said: “Mince and tatties is actually my favourite meal so I already knew how to cook it. It’s great to be able to do something to enable people in need to have a good meal, particularly in this weather.”
Matthew Friess, aged 18, said: “This is my second year volunteering to assist the Homeless Trust.
“I hadn’t made mince and tatties before last winter’s project but this time I’ve got some experience. It’s immensely satisfying to be able to give my time an effort to such an excellent cause.”
Culloden Baptist Church, Culduthel Christian Centre Home Group, Black Isle Volunteers, Crown Church, Ness Bank Church, Old High St Stephen’s Church, St Ninian’s Catholic Church, Inverness Mosque and Rosskeen Free Church in Invergordon have all participated in this year’s project in addition to the volunteers from Highland Homeless Trust.
Dr Paul Monaghan, director of Highland Homeless Trust, said: “It’s a huge challenge to do so much in a few short weeks and to provide pre-packaged food for those referred to us to enable them to have a satisfying meal.
“Our experience is that the numbers of people suffering hardship is increasing, particularly in midwinter, and those who benefit from this service and are extremely grateful.
“Donations of imperishable food supplies like tinned food, soup, cold meat and pasta can still be handed in to our offices in Church Street to help us in our campaign right up to the end of this month.”
Dr Monaghan added that referrals for meals have come from social work sources, community centres, community health nurses and GPs, churches and other charities working with disadvantaged people.
Mr Sutherland has again donated meat while the potatoes and vegetables have been donated by the Mustard Seed restaurant and Williamsons’ fruit and veg business.
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