FOOD parcel deliveries to needy people in Bo’ness have more than doubled since a local project started in October.
Every week, on average, 25 families are helped thanks to the Storehouse venture which - according to organiser Mike Munro - has attracted ‘phenomenal’ local support.
And such is existing demand, even more people could be assisted with extra volunteers and donations.
A sudden family bereavement or person losing their job have, in certain instances, plunged Bo’ness residents into desperate situations where they are struggling to provide for themselves.
The Storehouse, which relies entirely on donations and its 12 volunteers, can step in to distribute food, toiletries and household essentials, upon referrals from social workers, schools or churches.
This lasts until the recipients get back on their feet and professionals deem it no longer necessary - be it after a few weeks, months, or longer term.
A helping hand was given until someone’s kitchen equipment was fitted, after they moved to Bo’ness to aid a relative caring for a terminally ill spouse.
In emergencies, too, the Storehouse has assisted - supplying soup and beans within an hour when alerted by a minister, with a church benevolent fund paying the meter to heat them.
Clothes were even rustled up for a premature baby.
Tesco has just launched a dedicated trolley, parked near the check-outs, for shoppers to pop bought items into for distribution by the Storehouse team. Leaflets outline the type of goods needed.
Tesco’s Tracy Paton said: “If we’ve got 300-500 customers through a day and everybody was to put something in, that would be awesome.
“It’s local people providing for and helping local people in our community, which is a fantastic thing.”
The supermarket seized the chance to back the local scheme.
A similar company-wide project before Christmas proved very successful.
“More people need to realise there actually is a problem in our town and that Mike and his team are addressing it,” said Tracy.
“I didn’t realise until Mike told us that there were families needing this kind of support. I suppose it’s a sign of the times.”
Said Mike: “It’s brilliant having Tesco on board. It’s been a real encouragement to us.”
Customers’ items are sorted at the Storehouse’s Links Court unit, let rent-free by Falkirk Council, along with supplies gathered at churches and schools, and those bulk-bought online with cash donations.
Caledonian Produce contributes fresh foods via the Academy’s Bon Appetit programme.
“There’s never been a week we’ve not managed to give to everybody referred. There’s maybe not as much left by the time we have done that but by the next Thursday we are ready. The stuff just comes in!” said Mike.
“You just can’t thank people enough, we’re just amazed every week.”
He is in talks with other stores about more collection points. Money has come recently from Grange Primary (£59), St Mary’s Church (£117), Bo’ness Churches Together (£100), plus Bo’ness Academy (£250), whose canteen gave fruit and veg, and whose S2s have expanded the project into primary schools.
Thanks to £1000 from Branches, the unit’s heating, lighting and insurance costs are covered.
*To help, contact Mike via 01506 825803.