Two friends with a long-term goal to feed the people of Angus have sprung into action to dish out 5,000 food packages in just two weeks.
Pauline Lockhart and Carole Malone from Forfar had been working to set up a “social supermarket” offering affordable food when coronavirus hit and quickly diverted their attention to helping those hit hardest.
They launched the S-Mart grocery packs on April 18 and have already given out 5,000 free food packages in the fortnight since.
Carol said: “We were in the process of setting up an affordable social supermarket in Forfar when covid 19 arrived in Scotland and the lockdown began.
“It quickly became apparent that people in Angus needed fast and free access to good quality food, to help them survive the short term effects of the lockdown.
“People who may have never considered using anything other than a supermarket for their weekly food shop are suddenly facing the prospect of having to make difficult choices at the end of the month, when the bills come in and their wages no longer cover their outgoings.
“We are appealing to those people to come and claim their free grocery packs. There is no shame in saving on food bills for a few weeks, particularly if that frees you up to reallocate your grocery budget to other pressing household bills.”
The grocery packs are available for collection on Tuesdays and Saturdays in Forfar, and each contain enough fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy bakery products and dried goods, enough to provide three meals per day for three days.
The pair have been helped by a £25,000 grant from the Scottish Government, as well as an extra £25,000 from local businesses and individuals.
Pauline said: “The work we had already done in the past few months in planning the S-Mart Social Supermarket put us in a strong position to act fast in response to the covid-19 pandemic.
“We had already developed a great relationship with Fareshare, who are providing the low cost high quality food we use in the free grocery packs, and much of the infrastructure was already in place for receiving, storing and distributing the food.
“It’s great to see the people of Angus stepping up in support of their neighbours and that businesses are collaborating with us to support their customers in this way.”
To make a donation or find out about the long term plans for the project, go to www.communityfirstuk.com/social-supermarket
To order a food pack, call 07592 626519 between 9am and 10am on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The only requirement is to live in Angus and packs will be allocated on a first come first served basis.