Lochaber Foodbank ‘overwhelmed’ with donations over Christmas

FOOD BANK Fort William Food Bank volunteers in the presently well-stocked store room. From left to right: Sue Grant, Roia Wilson, Sheila Sen, Moira Stoddart, Jacqui Marshall and Alex Mcconachie. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

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The generosity of local people and businesses was praised by the Lochaber Foodbank as they struggled to find space for everything.

Donations from schools, nurseries, businesses and individuals mean that those in need will not go hungry and even get some treats over the festive period.

Volunteers were inundated with essentials but also had crates full of advent calendars, Christmas cakes and other goodies.

Alex Mcconachie, who runs the foodbank based on Fort William’s High Street, wanted to thank the generous people who thought of others at this time of year.

He said: ‘None of this would be possible without the people who donate and those that volunteer their time. We have been absolutely overwhelmed with donations and barely have space to put everything, but we do need this generosity to be kept up as donations usually go down in January and February when the need is greatest.

‘The number of people in need is rising. When we started the foodbank here we thought we would just be doing a few hundred boxes per year, but up to April 2019 we did 1,171 boxes, and since then we have done 939 so far this year. In December alone we did 175 boxes. These people have no other option and about 30 per cent of those we support are children.’

Foodbank volunteer, Sue Grant, packing a bag for collection. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

In the storeroom of the foodbank, volunteers could not sort everything due to the sheer volume of food items taking up every available crate.

While every donation is gratefully accepted, some things are more vital than others.

Local volunteer, Sue Grant told us that things like pasta and baked beans are not as necessary as milk or feminine hygiene products.

‘Some people that we provide food for do not even have the ability to cook meals, so things like pasta are no use to them and we always have lots for those that can. Hygiene products are just as helpful as food because these are the first thing to go from a shopping list when money is tight and a mother has to feed a family.

‘We need things that people can eat cold, so cooked meats, fish, even beans and sausage in a tin are great.’

Things like tin openers and cutlery are appreciated as well, along with other toiletries and nappies for babies, although money will allow the foodbank – which runs purely on donations – to buy essentials when running low.

The chemist, Boots, on Fort William High Street encouraged staff to donate toiletries for the foodbank rather than have a Secret Santa, and the solicitors and estate agents, MacPhee and Partners, had a massive outpouring of generosity from clients and staff, filling up a few tables worth of food in their Fort William office.

🥰🥰🥰 Overwhelmed by the generosity shown by our clients and staff so far… last date for receiving donations is…

Posted by MacPhee & Partners on Monday, 16 December 2019