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Kind Dundee locals give up Christmas to provide free meals for hungry

dundee christmas meals lochee larder
Michelle Menzies-Batt, director of MGT Training, and Lochee Community Larder vice chair Sam Roberts.

Kind Dundee locals are giving up their Christmas Day to ensure vulnerable people across the city don’t go hungry.

Graham’s Kitchen, St Mary’s Church and the Lochee Community Larder are all open on Christmas day, offering free food.

St Mary’s Church and the Lochee Larder will be serving up free lunches around Lochee, while Graham’s Kitchen will be offering dinner in their usual Marketgait spot.

The Lochee Larder will open for the first time on Christmas Day due to a new partnership with a local company.

First for Lochee Community Larder

The Lochee Larder, on Whorterbank, are offering free soup and filled rolls on Christmas day between 12pm and 2pm.

They will also be open on Christmas Eve from 6.30pm until 7.30pm and will be giving away free food to take away.

The larder will open for the first time on Christmas Day in partnership with MGT Training, run by Dundee-born director Michelle Menzies-Batt.

The Tayside business provides training in hospitality, management and retail across Scotland.

lochee larder
From left: Lochee Community Larder volunteer Magda Grajewska, vice chair Sam Roberts, Michelle Menzies-Batt, director of MGT Training, and volunteer Robyn Fegen.

Director Michelle has decided to go back to her roots and help vulnerable Dundonians seeking community on Christmas Day.

“We decided to cook up some nice meals for Christmas to help the locals,” said Michelle.

“We’ve got selection boxes and my clients have donated cakes too. It’s all getting made up into little bags so we can distribute more.

“We’re just trying to pull it all together so that people can reap the benefits – especially at this time of year.

“It’s quite bad right now with the pandemic especially.

“People can either sit in our wee café or outside or just come for a chat – it doesn’t matter, it’s about being part of that community.”

‘We want to help’

MGT Training partnered with the Lochee Community Larder three months ago to provide retail and hospitality training for the locals.

Michelle said: “It’s in the early stages, but we want to help people get back on their feet and that involves getting the right training for employment to become self-sufficient.

“A lot of people have gone through difficult circumstances and we want help them.

“I suffered the loss of my teenage son 14 years ago, so I can empathise with a lot of the families who come the larder who might be suffering loss or trauma.

MGT Training partnered with the Lochee Larder to provide training and Christmas meal support.

“Being part of a community helps us to give support to others, and being supportive of others is helping them to feel good and better about themselves.

“There’s so much stress in the world and there’s never been a more important time to help others struggling with their mental and physical wellbeing.

“We want to help people around Lochee feel empowered and in control of their lives.”

The larder usually opens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am and 2pm.

Michelle hopes to expand the training during the school holidays and provide basic cooking lessons for local parents and children.

Christmas lunch and dinner in Dundee

St Marys Church are also running a free drop-in café from 12pm and 2pm on Christmas Day.

They are open every Saturday at the same time and will also offer free lunch on New Years Day.

The church is on the Lochee High Street, with access available via Grays Lane.

Graham’s Kitchen will be supplying hot filled rolls, hot drinks, fruit and cake in the Debenham’s Car Park in Marketgait from 7.30pm until 9pm.

The soup kitchen, started by Graham Livingstone, runs in the city centre every Saturday night.

Those attending the Lochee Larder on Christmas Day are encouraged to let the larder know beforehand by calling 01382 936191 between 10am and 2pm or by messaging their Facebook page.

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