Oban food bank expects rising need this Christmas

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Oban’s Hope Kitchen is calling for donations to this year’s Christmas food and gift hampers, which will be collected between November 1-19 ready for distribution to people in need this December.

Every year the charity distributes food and gift hampers to the local community, and relies on donations. Staff are expecting a greater need this Christmas.

Service manager Catriona Petit told us: ‘There is a triple whammy, the hike in food prices, rising energy bills, and the cut to universal credit.

‘We would love to help make Christmas more bearable and comfortable. We provide food for people to get through after Christmas. We also provide for vegetarians and vegans. We are not just here to give out food hampers: we can also help people in getting extra support they are not accessing. It is confidential.’

A poster describes what donations the charity needs for Christmas: ‘Gifts for men, women, teenagers and older children; Christmas food (mince pies, snacks, biscuits, Christmas puddings, custard, etc.); tinned meat and fish; tinned fruit and veg; Christmas crackers; wrapping paper (please do not wrap the gifts).

‘Collections will be between November 1-19. Items must be delivered between these dates.’

Donations can either be dropped into the basket at Tesco checkouts at any time, or dropped off at New Hope, 2 Soroba Road, Oban, between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

People can get in touch with Hope Kitchen on its Facebook page via private message, by email: obanhopekitchen@gmail.com or by phone 01631 565730. The parcels will be distributed/ ready for collection from December 1-12.

The charity was established in 2009 by a group of friends who were motivated by their experiences as well as that of others they knew. They noticed there was a number of people in Oban, including the homeless, people with alcohol and drug addictions and mental health issues, who needed a safe place where they could get food, shelter and be made to feel welcome.

The work of the charity expanded so much that Hope Kitchen required much larger premises to cope with the demand, opening New Hope at 2 Soroba Road: ‘a community hub and cafe where everyone is welcome to meet together, enjoy good food and get involved. We are currently serving lunch between 12pm-1.30pm.

‘We operate a Food Bank from New Hope which is open to everyone in need of food in an emergency. Please speak to staff members, send an email to obanhopekitchen@gmail.com or phone us at 01631 565730 during opening hours for details. The food bank is open daily from 11.30am-1.30pm.’