A Glasgow-based initiative that is supplying nutritious food to deprived communities in Scotland – whilst supporting local catering businesses – has launched an appeal.
The Kind Kitchen was set up by strEAT Events – a catering management company – and aims to feed 16,000 people by raising £100,000 before the end of July.
It was only launched a couple of weeks ago, but has already fed more than 400 people who are struggling to make ends meet by supplying quality meals to charities that operate food banks or deliver meals.
Vanessa Gilpin, director of strEAT Events who is behind the initiative, said: “The communities we serve are in high deprivation areas where a lot of families depend on Universal Credit. This has been delayed for many, so they simply cannot afford to shop.
“The great thing is we serving smaller charities and community organisations who don’t get access to bigger funds. We are providing vegetarian-based, nutritionally balanced meals, like Moroccan bean stew, vegetarian cottage pie and tofu Chow Mein, prepared for families so it is much healthier.”
Within its first week, The Kind Kitchen commissioned a food van to make and deliver 100 meals to East Dunbartonshire foodbank. Since then, the initiative has raised £8,000 towards its £100,000 target and now, by teaming up with independent food truck businesses, it is supplying 200 meals a week to those who need them the most.
But there is a long way to go, as Vanessa pointed out.
She said: “We are celebrating every small win, but the goal is big and the demand for meals currently outweighs the donations we are getting in.
“In this difficult time people are in need and the meals we provide through The Kind Kitchen meet these needs. It’s a great opportunity to impact our local communities.”
One of The Kind Kitchen’s four volunteers, Raonaid MacKay, has pledged her support to the cause after being furloughed by her employer. Having volunteered in a similar role, Raonaid knows first-hand the true impact this is having.
She said: “I spoke to a couple who were self-isolating at home because of Covid-19 and all they had was honey and butter in their cupboards.
“People cannot get to the shops or go to the food bank like they would before, nor are they getting meals delivered – this is a genuine situation that is happening all over Scotland at the moment.
“I just want to make a difference – I couldn’t sit on my hands during this.
“This time next year we will all be attending festivals and outdoor events again, and we will expect to see food trucks there – but they might not be if we don’t support them, so we need to help these local independent businesses too.”
A survey by the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) found that caterers’ bookings and enquiries have been reduced by 75% to 100% leaving almost half (49%) of those small businesses having to use their savings to keep afloat.
Two thirds (66%) of independent caterers admit this current situation will force them to close, permanently.
Glasgow-based caterer Ian Withers runs Fujisan, a food truck which is supporting (and has been supported by) The Kind Kitchen project. Ian said the initiative has provided a lifeline to both families and self-employed caterers who are struggling.
He added: “For the caterers it provides much needed income. In these uncertain times, most small businesses in our sector have had to shut and are unsure of when they’ll be able to open again.”
If you wish to donate to The Kind Kitchen and help the organisation feed 16,000 people in need, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/TheKindKitchen
You can donate supplies, bulk food ingredients or any amount of money you can afford.