It is expected that more than one tonne of food has been donated by big-hearted members of the public at last week’s foodbank collection in Stornoway’s Tesco store.
And as well local people generously giving to the cause the store itself has committed to bolstering the food collection by 30 per cent on top, a gesture which will further help to ensure that this year’s supplies are sufficient.
Each day of collection 5 to 6 foodbank volunteers worked in shifts, supplemented by independent volunteers and members of other charity groups such as the Nicolson Institute’s Interact club.
Two members of The Interact Club were present last Friday and they praised the generosity and willingness of customers to donate throughout the day.
Two other volunteers on duty at the collection table explained how most of the people that they had spoken to had been very well informed on the role and purpose of foodbanks, although they still found that there were misconceptions regarding the reasons why people used them.
The main aim of Eilean Siar Foodbank is to provide a safety net to those facing food poverty in the Western Isles.
Referred individuals are given a food parcel, made up using a standardised formula, each parcel contains three days’ worth of food.
The foodbank operates out of a hub in Stornoway providing a service to the rest of the Western Isles through deliveries from Grillburger vans.
It is run on a purely voluntary basis with no paid employees or government funding. It is because of this that any form of support through donation or otherwise is so important.
In 2014 there were a total of 159 referrals to the foodbank from across the Western Isles showing the true demand for the service.
Referrals can come from a number of agencies such as Social Work, Homeless Services, Citizens Advice and many others.
They receive a voucher from the agency which can be presented at the foodbank for a food parcel.
Eilean Siar Foodbank stressed the variety of reasons that these referrals were made with issues ranging from unemployment to long term sickness, or simply the struggles of supporting a family on a low income.
The bulk of the donations made to the foodbank are long life foods such as tinned goods, rice and pasta. This is so that collected food can be used throughout the year.
However, with the festive season fast approaching donations of more luxurious items were also encouraged to ensure that everyone on our islands no matter of financial circumstances will be able to enjoy a happy Christmas.
Have you got spare time on your hands? Are you caring, compassionate, reliable and discreet? Eilean Siar Foodbank needs your help.
We are looking for able-bodied volunteers who can help out regularly at our Stornoway distribution centre with a variety of tasks including greeting clients, sorting food, handling admin and applying for funding.
If you feel you could help in any of these areas and would like to find out more about being a volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please note that volunteers must be able to climb stairs.
Pictured above are Interact members Alyce McClements, Sharon Macleod and volunteer Alan Cessford at the collection point in store.