Leith based charity Cyrenians FareShare, who tackle the causes and consequences of homelessness, have distributed 1,300 tonnes of food to beneficiaries across the South East of Scotland, creating over 3.1 million meals, since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic in March.  

Cyrenians FareShare Service Manager Lynne Collie said, “Since the beginning of covid-19 we have seen an increased demand for access to food in a quick, dignified manner. At the height of the pandemic we were supporting over 200 Community Food Members – all of whom are organisations in their own right, serving their local community.

“Our model is two-fold; we prevent unnecessary food waste by working with large supermarkets and food networks to prevent surplus food being sent to waste, whilst helping organisations like Empty Kitchens and Eildon Housing Association to redirect funds into essential frontline work by providing nutritious food at low costs.

“At the beginning of the pandemic the Scottish Government, in partnership with FareShare UK, purchased food in bulk to distribute throughout our network allowing us to really step up our operation. We were in a unique position to provide additional support over the past 9 months because of that network; we were already connected to thousands of individuals who were likely to be even further impacted by the negative effects of covid-19.”

Head of Service Neil Hay added, “The logistics were the most difficult aspect – with an increase in stock we had to consider storage options, staff rotations, physical distancing measures – all of which impacted how we usually operate. We’re based in a small warehouse on Jane Street, with a team of volunteer drivers and a handful of staff.

“We have been fortunate to have received additional volunteer support from Edinburgh University over the past few months, helping us to keep our teams safe while continuing to support as many people as we can.”

Cyrenians FareShare Team are still supporting 156 community food members across the South East of Scotland. Demand continues to grow, with 3.1 million meals distributed already this year compared to 1 million the previous year, they need your support more than ever.

To find out more, or donate to support their work, visit www.cyrenians.scot