Eilean Siar Foodbank are asking for a double dose of help from island shoppers and businesses as they approach the busy time of their Christmas box appeal.

This year the foodbank, which meets the needs of people who can’t afford to feed themselves year-round, not only needs donations of food but also a place to keep it.

Eilean Siar foodbank administrator Sarah Macdonald told welovestornoway.com today (Friday November 16th): “Our former storage area, which the owners kindly let us use for as long as they could, has now had to be sold.

“That means that, as we approach the time when up to 300 Christmas boxes need to be collected in and put together, we are without a safe place to store the food and to pack the boxes.

“We need somewhere suitable for storing food – dry and rodent-proof – which we can use for at least a month, although longer would be better as we remain active all the year round. Ideally it would be on the ground floor as we have to carry the boxes and some of our volunteers find that hard if we have to negotiate stairs.”

The appeal for premises comes at the same time as the annual food collection at Tesco’s store in Stornoway is approaching.

Between Thursday November 29thand Saturday December 1stshoppers can pick up a shopping list as they enter the store, buy a few extra items and put them into the collection box as they finish their shopping.

Eilean Siar foodbank has reduced their major collection to just one a year, although cash donations from local groups help them to provide food to those who need it all year round.

Sarah said: “Last year we delivered over 250 Christmas boxes. They go to people, mostly families, who have been referred to us by the support agencies because they could do with a bit of extra help at a costly time of the year.

“The kind of thing we ask for when you are shopping at Tesco includes tinned meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, milk, jam and Christmas fare for treats.

"If you would like to donate, either via Tesco or directly, please do make sure that you bring donations to us by mid-December so that the boxes can be packed up for delivery throughout the Western Isles.”

If you can help with donations, help with packing and especially with the availability of premises, please contact the Eilean Siar foodbank volunteers via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EileanSiarFoodbank/