Midlothian Matters - Giving some food for thought

Midlothian Foodbank manager Janice Burns (right) and volunteer Ellen Kilpatrick.

Midlothian Foodbank manager Janice Burns (right) and volunteer Ellen Kilpatrick.

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With the objective of doing more to help in our local community the Midlothian Foodbank was born! writes Rev Mark Nicholas.

It supplies clients with three days’ emergency food, designed to help them get out of the current crisis they may be facing. These are all non-perishable items e.g. tins of soup etc. pasta, tea, coffee.

We also try and include treats which are always well received. Also included, if required, are toiletries, household cleaning items plus dog and cat food. Many of our clients will feed their animals before themselves!

We recently signed up to the Food Cloud which is run by FareShare. It is a service for charities to receive free food from supermarkets which would otherwise be thrown away. At the moment Tesco Hardengreen is our supplier, which is going to enable us to provide some fresh items to our clients. All the goods are in date (short) and we will only provide people with safe quality food that we would eat.

This service is provided on a referral basis. We have lots of agencies and charities who refer to us including the social work department, the welfare reform people, Women’s Aid etc. Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, homeless and housing officers also refer.

Helping Hands

Run by Yvette Hennessey, our assistant foodbank manager, this provides new mums, who are in need, with everything required when a new baby comes home. This is also done on a referral basis e.g. Family Nurse Partnership and Children 1st.

Toot for Fruit

We have recently taken over the running of the Toot for Fruit van which is an initiative, supported by NHS Lothian, aimed at giving people better access to fresh fruit and vegetables. We are hoping to increase the four days a week the van is currently running to five. If you would like to see the van in your area please get in touch with Ronnie our driver on 07784 895938 or through our Facebook page, Toot for Fruit.