Social enterprise provides 11,000 free meals in Angus

P8 foodbank items for box out

The S-Mart Grocery Pack is available to anyone in the area struggling to make ends meet.

27th May 2020 by Gavin Stuart 1 Comment

An Angus-based social enterprise has provided more than 11,000 free meals to people struggling financially because of Covid-19.

The S-Mart Grocery Pack was launched in mid-April by two local women, Pauline Lockhart and Carol Malone, to offer free food packages to anyone in Angus finding it hard to make ends meet as a result of lockdown measures.

Packages are available for collection on Tuesdays and Saturdays in Forfar, and each contains enough fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy and bakery products, as well as dried goods, for three meals a day over three days.

Carol, who works alongside Pauline at local social enterprise Community First, said: “We were in the process of setting up an affordable ‘social supermarket’ in Forfar when Covid-19 arrived in Scotland and the lockdown began. It quickly became apparent that people in Angus needed fast and free access to good quality food, to help them survive the short-term effects of the lockdown. So, we’ve temporarily diverted our attention away from our social supermarket and onto launching the Covid-19 grocery package project. 

“People who may have never considered using anything other than a supermarket for their weekly food shop are suddenly facing the prospect of having to make difficult choices at the end of the month, when the bills come in and their wages no longer cover their outgoings.

“We are appealing to those people to come and claim their free grocery packs. There is no shame in saving on food bills for a few weeks, particularly if that frees you up to reallocate your grocery budget to other pressing household bills.”

Pauline added: “The work we had already done in the past few months in planning the S-Mart Social Supermarket put us in a strong position to act fast in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We had already developed a great relationship with Fareshare, who are providing the low cost, high quality food we use in the free grocery packs, and much of the infrastructure was already in place for receiving, storing and distributing the food.”

Local residents and businesses have already donated £25,000 to the project, with the same amount coming from the Scottish Government.

Mairi Gougeon, minister for rural affairs, said: “I want to thank Pauline and Carol, the driving force behind this initiative, for the tremendous amount of work they have done to get this up and running, and to the volunteers who are helping provide this lifeline service to the people of Angus.

“To have provided over 11,000 meals is incredible, but it also shows how vital the S-Mart grocery packs are. Anyone can find themselves in a situation where they need a helping hand, and this initiative provides exactly that.”

Anyone wishing to order a grocery pack can call 07592 626519 between 9am and 10am on Tuesday and Saturday.

2nd June 2020 by Alison

Fantastic support. My husband and I have both been furloughed and this has been an absolute godsend, particularly in the second month of lockdown when our finances were getting tight. Having never ever had to rely on anyone for food we were very embarrassed at first but they were the were so nice and just the helping hand we needed.