In the past year, the Cyrenians Fareshare depot has redistributed over 450 tonnes of surplus food to charities and community groups across Central and South East Scotland – breaking their target of delivering 1 million meals in their 20th year.
The Edinburgh-based charity tackle the causes and consequences of homelessness. Food poverty is a key element of a number of their services: as well as operating the FareShare depot for central and south-eastern Scotland, Cyrenians runs cooking courses at their Flavour and Haver Cook School and community cook clubs across Midlothian and Fife.
Food wastage is a huge social and environmental problem – according to Scottish Government figures, in 2013 over 1 million tonnes of food and drink was wasted in Scotland alone.
Meanwhile, recent figures show that almost 1 in 10 people are food insecure, struggling to feed themselves and maintain a healthy diet. The negative impact that juggling the cost of food and housing has on a person’s health and wellbeing cannot be understated; research shows that poverty is a significant contributing factor to homelessness.
At an event sponsored by Alison Johnstone MSP this week, staff, volunteers, politicians and partners celebrated the achievement, and acknowledged the dedication of the volunteers - volunteers whose dedication and commitment make the whole enterprise possible.
Jockey receiving a certificate to acknowledge the 10,000 hours the volunteer team he’s part of has contributed in the past year alone
Those in attendance also heard from Gaz - a volunteer at the depot for 19 years - whose journey from addiction and homelessness to a more settled, fulfilling and secure lifestyle has been aided by the supportive community and friendships he's found at the depot.
"It’s like a family here, all the volunteers and staff look after each other. There’s always someone to talk to, even if you’re feeling rough. Sometimes, you can get here feeling s***e, but by the end of the day you end up leaving with a smile on your face".
Cyrenians Depot Service Manager Lynne Collie said, “When the cost of not having access to health and nutritious food is so high, we must do everything we can to ensure that no one goes without.
“The network of charities and community groups that make use of Fareshare deliveries provide dignified access to food-insecure communities across Central and South East Scotland. By expanding our capacity, we’ve been able to reach more people than ever before in our 20th year, getting food to those who need it most, and allowing organisations to redirect their savings to other areas of their work
“The food that we receive at our depot is produce that could not be sold by retailers, often due to packaging errors, or a rebrand. Instead of being sent to landfill, this food is then redistributed by dedicated staff and volunteers to over 130 community food members, ranging from community groups to school holiday clubs
Alison Johnstone MSP with some members of the Cyrenians Fareshare team
To find out more about Cyrenians Fareshare depot, click HERE