A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

FareShare has hit the media big time over the weekend. Cyrenians provides one of 17 services across the UK that together contribute to 8.6 million meals a year with surplus product donated by the food industry. Donated fresh food is quality checked and distributed by volunteers from our Leith warehouse to supply 43 charity kitchens around Lothian to supplement their food budget and add value to their menu. (“Aw no, not salmon en croute again,” a customer of a local shelter kitchen was famously heard saying to a delivery team!)

As the National Survey reports, we’re looking for more food donors in Scotland, more volunteers to help run the Programme and financial support so that we can increase the impact we’re making.

It’s a brilliant service: “A triumph of common sense,” as Sir Tom Farmer called it on one of his visits. Charities for the homeless have some decent fare to put in front of folk, as well as help and advice from our food team. Large quantities of food is diverted from land-fill. And dozens of people who were homeless are helping run the warehouse and delivery vans; helping their recovery while helping others. To that we add cookery classes for over 200 people a year and their carers. From Day One – back in the year 2000 –  we’ve been determined that the Programme is a hand-up, not just a hand out. We want to see food used to bring people together and forward in their lives.

For that reason we’ve not publicised our limited work to date in distributing Emergency Food Packs to individuals and families who are receiving other services. We think we’d already be swamped by demand and this will certainly rise as the welfare reforms roll out.

But our Thinking Hats are firmly on again given the evidence of growing need. We welcome ideas and suggestions – even proposals – about how else to provide food help in tackling the poverty in our midst without creating dependence or tackling a mountain with a teaspoon.

Click here to support the work of Cyrenians

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