Eilean Siar Foodbank co-ordinators have today (Monday 6 April) described as ‘phenomenal’ the response of islanders to the growing need for food parcels during the upheaval caused by Coronavirus.
Demand for support from the food bank has sharply increased in the past few weeks, as many people lose work and others struggle to get their usual food shopping in the face of empty supermarket shelves and lack of public transport.
But that demand has also been balanced by a huge increase in public support for the foodbank, both with donations through the shops and with new initiatives including home delivery by bike, van and taxi and fundraising events from online concerts to sponsored head shaves.
Food Bank trustee Catriona Stewart said: “The current crisis has caused a sharp rise in the requests for food parcels but our island people, as individuals and as businesses, have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help us with both food
and monetary donations; we have been blown away by their generosity.
“Some have given their time, musical talents and hair to fundraising, while others have offered to deliver directly to clients. Our own regular volunteers have been tirelessly collecting donations from around the island, processing them and spending
hours packing boxes.
“Finally, there are local businesses who, despite facing difficult days ahead in the current climate, have given very generously, either with storage facilities or financial aid, to help us reach those in need in our island communities.”
Eilean Siar Foodbank is working alongside agencies like Citizens Advice Scotland, Hebridean Housing Partnerhsip, the Salvation Army and other churches and community organisations across the Western Isles to continue supporting local people who are struggling to cope with financial pressures.
Emergency food parcels have been supplied to an increasing number of people who have suddenly found themselves unable to work because of the current pandemic, as well as some whose children would normally benefit from free school meals, but
are now having to spend all their time at home.
Catriona said: “We are also supporting the elderly and vulnerable who have had to isolate because of the virus and can no longer go shopping themselves. In the last two weeks alone, Eilean Siar Foodbank has sent out over 250 food parcels.
“We have volunteers ready with a couple of parcels in their cars to deliver as soon as we get a message. Meanwhile all our volunteers are adhering carefully to safe social distancing while working and delivering.
“It really has been phenomenal how the islanders have gathered around in various groups and organisations (not just the foodbank) and as neighbours to check on each other and help in their community any way they can. The response to our foodbank appeal for food has been amazing, so we are very, very grateful and thankful.”
Stornoway’s Salvation Army Corps has also been opening at advertised times to make available groceries, frozen food, toiletries and baby supplies donated by local businesses. You can contact them to find out when the next opening time is via their Facebook page or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The foodbank can be contacted via private message to the Facebook page or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Include a name, address and contact number so that they can deal with enquiries as quickly as possible.
The pictures show supplies laid out for collection at Stornoway’s Salvation Army Hall in Bayhead.