Food Facts Friends Foodbank

Food Facts Friends Report 23 June 2020

Food Facts Friends is an independent foodbank and drop in centre, with two operational sites, one  in Penicuik, the other at Woodburn Dalkeith.  Formed in 2016 the project achieved charitable status in early 2017. The main focus of the project is to provide support to those experiencing food poverty and publicise other agencies able to help people in financial distress to ease their situation. 

The charity has built good working relationships with Midlothian council and many of  the other supporting social agencies, many also charities, e.g. Children 1st, Women’s Aid, and Social work departments. Many suppliers are also working closely with the charity, M&S, Lidl, Costco, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, and many local businesses, providing food supplies and essential toiletries to make up the food parcels for each of those seeking help. Volunteers provide the essential work to receive, label, store and makeup the donated and purchased food into the food parcels.  

People and families needing support are referred to the foodbank by the above agencies and others. Each referred person or family is supported for 8 weeks, which is normally long enough for Universal Credit applications to commence. 

Prior to  the Covid-19 epidemic the charity was handing out 350 meals a week to some150 families. Since February this has increased more than 8 fold, currently supplying over 2800 meals a week to some 800 people and children. 

The food bank has tripled their fresh meat order, doubled fresh meals order and buying fresh fruit & vegetables from Lidl on a twice weekly basis. This helps to give everyone who comes looking for support some fresh meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to tinned and packet foods.

This increase has put a lot of pressure on the charity, seeking additional grants and donations to purchase over 2 tonnes of food a week to meet this demand.  We are fortunate to have support of many organisations, including the Penicuik Community Development Trust, Midlothian Council,  and individuals, providing food hampers and financial aid. Where possible we are buying food supplies and ready meals from local providers, e.g. David Seez at the Gravity Shop Penicuik baking ready meals, along with the Allan Ramsay Hotel in Carlops creating ready meals in their kitchen, whilst the hotel is closed. Boa k the Butcher in Penicuik is providing meat products, whilst Lidl are a source of fresh vegetables, all allowing a nutritious food parcel to be created by our volunteers. 

Shortly the operation in Penicuik will be moving to larger premises in Penicuik, such is the demand and need for additional storage requirements.  The end of lockdown may be approaching, but the after effects will be with us for a long time to come, impacting those who have been furloughed, lost their employment, self employed looking for restart work, all experiencing financial stress after 3 months locked down. Food Facts Friends are here to help you through this difficult time. 

Find out more about us on Facebook call Mark 07507 697109, or email foodfactsfriends@gmail.com

Registered Scottish Charity SC047203