A Fife community group which planned to help families and individuals suffering hardship over the festive period has voiced its anger after being forced to scrap pallet-loads of food destined for those in need.
Staff at the Glenrothes Area Residents Federation (GARF) have been left incensed after those needing support were allegedly denied access to collect the emergency food parcels at the organisation’s drop-in unit at the town’s Kingdom Shopping Centre.
Chairman Ian Robertson branded the situation a “shambles” and said a lack of willingness to help find a solution has resulted in dozens of people going without food during Christmas and New Year.
The move forced GARF to scrap hundreds of pounds worth of provisions bought from a suppliers to help those in difficulty.
“We’ve had to bin crate-loads of fresh food that had been bought especially to help those suffering hardship, the elderly as well as the vulnerable and disabled,” said Mr Robertson.
“But due to the lack of access in the centre, because of covid restrictions in place resulting in the public access points closest to our unit being locked – as well as other barriers also in place – many needing help were unable to collect.
“It’s been a shambles for well over a week and we’ve been told to expect the same in the coming days, due to apparent staff shortages and coronavirus restrictions.”
The organisation, one of the town’s most active and longest running, had purchased the food from Fareshare UK after successfully applying to for emergency funding to help those in need and meet the growing demand from those suffering food poverty.
“It’s been heartbreaking to have to scrap the food knowing that there are many out there are going without,” said Mr Robertson.
“Because of the snow and severe weather conditions, many of the people we help are elderly and they were simply unable to walk to the other end of the town centre to find an entrance to the shopping centre that was actually open.”
He said: “I did manage to persuade one member of security to unlock a door temporarily and that helped us to get the food to residents.
“But I’ve since been informed that the doors nearest our unit will again be locked next week which is ridiculous.”
GARF members have since managed to deliver some of the food parcels and are urging Kingdom Centre’s operators to help find a solution that will allow people to collect instead of going hungry.
The Courier contacted the Kingdom Shopping Centre but no one was available for comment.