“Poppy Scotland have been fantastic in supporting both men, and it was they who referred Kenneth to Foodbank. He was grateful for the food we gave him, saying it was one thing less for him to worry about.”
A combination of health problems and domestic abuse brought Mairi to the lowest point in her life. But as she struggled to cope on a very low budget, her biggest fear was that her children would be taken into care.
“It was the Primary School that referred Mairi to us,” says Lorna Dempster, Blythswood Care’s Highland Foodbank Coordinator for Inverness and Nairn. “The volunteers at the Foodbank Centre were able to reassure her that with the support of Social Work and the local school she would be able to keep her family together.
“She was so grateful for the food she received, which gave her something less to worry about at such a difficult time in her life. Finding someone she could talk to was really important too.
“Many of the people who come in here need someone who is willing to listen to their story, especially when they feel that they are carrying a heavy burden alone.”
Jinty has been referred to Foodbank on a number of occasions (people can be referred to the service no more than 3 times in any six-month period) Jinty is in temporary accommodation, and struggles with loneliness. She has had problems with addictions in the past from which she is now free, but she doesn't want to resume contact with people in whose company she might be tempted to slide back into addiction.
Jinty relishes the warm, safe environment at the Foodbank Centre where she can sit, chat, drink coffee, and sense acceptance and empathy. She leaves not just with food, but with something even more precious - a heightened sense of hope and self-worth.
Gordie, who is 19, had a job as a fitter, but was made redundant on the ‘last in first out' principle.
He was looking for work, and was having difficulty making ends meet while he waited for the appropriate benefit to come through.
The Foodbank helped him at this difficult time
'Jo, Euan & Siobhan'
Three kids at Christmas time - Jo, Euan and Siobhan. There's been a family crisis and mum can no longer look after them.
The social worker doesn't want to split them up by sending them to foster carers over Christmas, so she identified a couple in the childrens' extended family who can take them in over the holidays, along with their own three kids. But this family would struggle to feed 8 people.
The social worker is able to give them the small amount of money available from an emergency budget, and calls on the help of Foodbank.. Result-eight people have enough food over Christmas, and whatever happens in the weeks ahead Jo, Euan and Siobham can look back at sharing Christmas 2011 together, and with their own flesh and blood.
Gifts like this are priceless.
Garry, his wife and two kids came to the new Foodbank Centre in Invergordon shortly after it opened in August 2009. Because of ill-health, Garry was no longer able to do the job he'd had previously and the family were short of money. We gave them an emergency three-day supply of food, and over a cup of coffee Garry told us that he was just on his way to an interview for a part-time job.
Mandy, in her forties, had just lost her husband, and she and her teenage son were facing financial pressures. The cost of the funeral was covered, but they were having difficulty meeting the additional costs associated with their bereavement - the extra journeys, the cost of feeding family members who came to Inverness for the funeral. It was a great comfort to Mandy and her son in their grief to know that for the next few days they didn't need to worry about food.
The Food Bank Team saw Mandy from time to time over the next few months, but they didn't find out if Garry got that job. And in a sense they don't need to know. What's important is that the Foodbank is there for people when they need help, a link in the chain providing support and human warmth at a difficult time.
Simon had just been given his first flat after living in homeless accommodation. Receiving help from us meant that he could concentrate on getting the basic necessities together so that he could move in to his flat. He was really excited about getting his own place to live, and being giving the food meant he’d one less thing to worry about at this crucial turning point in his life.
'Anthony and Mark'
Anthony and Mark came to the Inverness Foodbank Centre on 6th January. They stayed chatting to the volunteers and drinking cups of tea for almost two hours, as they found the Centre was much warmer than their accommodation!
They were struggling financially, and had no money for food: the Foodbank provided them with an emergency three-day supply.
These are real people with real problems – just a few of the stories from people the Highland Foodbank was able to help. The work of Foodbank is entirely dependent on the generosity of people in the Highlands who donate food and money. In the current climate we anticipate the demand for our service rising each year. We can only meet the needs of an ever increasing number of people who would otherwise struggle to eat if our resources increase in proportion to the need. Please consider whether you can help us make a difference to the lives of people in need in your own community.
Financial donations to the work of the Foodbank by way of a cheque should be made payable to Blythswood Care (please indicate your preferred Foodbank location if you have one, on the back of the cheque), or you can click on the Donations button below.
Donations of food can either be delivered to Blythswood’s base at Deephaven, Evanton, or left at any of Blythswood Care’s shops. It’s possible for larger donations of food to be collected – please contact the Depot to arrange for this. All donations of food are acknowledged, but this can only happen if we know where the food has come from, so please label bags and boxes of food with your name and address, or in the case of churches and organisations, the name and address of the contact person.
Read personal stories from some people who have been helped by Foodbanks
When Kenneth visited a Highland Foodbank Centre, it was the friend who accompanied him who did most of the talking.
“Kenneth looked really down but his friend knew exactly what he was going through as he had found himself in the same situation two years ago,” says foodbank coordinator Lorna Dempster.
“Both men had served in the military, and had witnessed some horrific incidents. They retired from the forces only to experience marriage breakdown, homes being repossessed and depression.
“Kenneth’s friend has had time to deal with some of the issues and is a stronger person as a result. Over a cup of tea he encouraged Kenneth to open up about the difficulties he is facing both financially and emotionally.
If you would like to help raise funds for the Highland Foodbank by setting up your own giving page to collect donations for a fun fundraising idea, or give a donation to help keep this essential service operating, then please click the button below and start your fundraising journey.