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For some, Christmas is a celebration, but for others it can be a period of profound stress.
That is why organisations such as Hope Kitchen are a vital service. Hope helps people get through the festive period by providing food, company, and advice.
However, in order to meet the extra demand over the holiday, Hope is in need a little help of its own.
Service manager, Catriona Petit said: ‘We need the community’s support. They are so fantastic and every year they go above and beyond to make sure the most vulnerable in our area get the help they need at Christmas.
‘People can give in lots of different ways to Hope. We are giving out food parcels and we want to give out proper meals as well as Christmas treats. Sometimes people need a bit of extra help to get through.
‘There is no shame in finding your finances not stretching over Christmas.’
The charity is asking people to donate a selection of food that can be made into a meal, such as: tinned meat or vegetarian main; tinned vegetables; tinned or dried potatoes; a chutney sauce; tinned or packaged pudding; tinned or carton of mustard; or evaporated milk.
Hope is also asking for people to consider adding tins of pet food, as well as some simple toiletries, and a ‘wee Christmas treat’.
‘Christmas is a celebration,’ Catriona added. ‘But it can be a very different time for many people. Coming in, helping by donating and being part of Hope is what it is all about. It would be really good if people were not on their own over Christmas.’
Catriona explained that as well as donating food, if people were in a position to donate financially to Hope, that ‘would be really helpful’.
‘At the moment we are very dependent on different grants, but I would like Hope to be more owned by the community,’ she added.
The service manager said that they already have regular donations from people, which really helps as it allows Hope to respond to the needs of the community.
This differs from grant funding, as the money from grants is reserved for specific projects.
People can donate via Hope’s website www.hopekitchen.org.uk, via the Hope Kitchen Facebook page, or through Paypal using firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, people can drop in to the premises located at Hope Kitchen 2 Soroba Road during opening hours: Monday-Wednesday, 11am-6pm, Thursday- Friday, 11am – 3pm.
The Oban charity is one of the few services that will be open over the festive period and it will be hosting a Christmas lunch for around 40 people on December 25.
On December 23 and 24, it will be open from 11am-6pm.
From noon until 3pm on Christmas Day, featuring a meal and games.
On Boxing Day it will also be open from noon until 3pm.
On December 30 and 31, Hope will be open from 11am-6pm, with a special Hogmanay evening steak pie.
It will be closed on January 1 and 2, and will reopen again on January 3 from 11am-3pm.
‘We are opening throughout the Christmas period between Christmas and New Year and some of the other services are shut. People are welcome to come and it would be nice to see some new faces,’ Catriona added.