Stornoway Salvation Army responds to cost of living crisis
published on 28 Mar 2022
The Salvation Army in Stornoway says the cost of living crisis is so bad it has gone from handing out food parcels from a small kitchen cupboard to feeding up to 150 people in a day.
Lieutenants Christopher and Faith Thompson lead the community church on the Isle of Lewis where they and their team of volunteers run a range of programmes aimed at helping struggling people.
With energy prices and the cost of living continuing to climb, many people in Stornoway and across the Western Isles of Scotland are struggling to make ends meet.
The Salvation Army, which helps run a foodbank out of the local golf club, is providing food and assistance for people who need help.
Christopher said: "Over the past few months we have seen a massive increase in the number of people coming to us for emergency food parcels. What we're seeing more and more of are people who are in work but struggling because their energy bills have gone up along with the cost of food, fuel and other essentials.
“When Faith and I came to the island last year, the previous Salvation Army officers had set up a foodbank at the golf club in response to the outbreak of Covid. Before that they only ever needed to give out the occasional food parcel, made up of items kept in a small cupboard.
“A lot of jobs here are tourist-related so covid meant people ended up out of work or furloughed. Things did improve and although there were some real success stories, the rising costs of everything mean people who were scraping by are now really struggling.
“We've received a lot of funding from grants and together with the staff at Stornoway Golf Club, we run a foodbank open for three hours twice a week that that can feed as many as 150 people in a session.
“People come from all over - from Ness in the north to the Isle of Harris in the south – and are willing to travel over an hour away rather than seek help locally because they might meet someone they know. There's still a stigma about asking for help. However, with us being based at the golf club, people could come here for a number of reasons, not just the foodbank, so it reassures them.
“We have also done a warm clothing scheme, providing hats, scarves, fleeces and blankets.
“We believe in showing the love of God through our actions and we do this by offering practical support through food and a listening ear. We soon get to know peoples' circumstances and therefore can direct them to other organisations that may be able to offer additional support.”