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Responding to COVID19 - Edinburgh Community Food

April 2, 2020

Over the coming weeks Communities Channel Scotland will be sharing the impressive work of community groups across Scotland responding to the COVID-19 crisis by supporting the most vulnerable people in their communities. To start us off, Edinburgh Community Food describe their excellent work supporting local people through vital food delivery.

                                                                                    

For 24 years Edinburgh Community Food has supplied healthier food throughout the city and surrounding areas. Within a 24-hour period at the start of the crisis our food delivery system flipped from business, community and homes to home delivery to vulnerable, isolated and people facing financial hardship. We used to deliver fruit to 120 businesses, fruit & veg and Take’n’Make to 30 community groups, and make 40 veg box home deliveries a week. 

We’ve now refocused our efforts and in the past week we have:

  • Produced 300 ‘essential’ food boxes, changing the contents to reflect what we feel is more ‘dignified’ nutrition, with more quality items so that customers do not feel they are just getting leftovers and helping to reduce food inequality; 

  • Produced and delivered 200 “Take’n’Make” meals in a bag, each bag normally providing for a family of four.  We have now modified some bag sizes to reflect that many people we support will be living alone or in couples or may be bigger than a family of four, therefore we’re better meeting the demands of the population in need within our city.

Edinburgh Community Food's logoSo overall we’ve provided meals to 2000 people and families in a week, and we’re currently preparing a dignified food proposal for a city-wide network of local partnerships to increase our capacity to around 3500 meals per week in the next phase of operations.

We are making space in part of our warehouse to hold 40 pallets worth of emergency food supplies for Fareshare.  These ‘forward stores’ increase both Edinburgh’s overall food resilience and security, and our ability to respond more quickly to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. 

We are now providing partnership support to food-oriented start-ups, based on our established experience, knowledge and presence.  The aim is to guide others to meet their food hygiene requirements and advise on processes and meal composition and put people in touch where we feel they could help each other to deliver services.

We’ve increased provision of online education and training, such as our weaning classes and family oral-health education.  We have also ramped up our social media presence in order to act as a platform to support vulnerable people and demonstrate the work that we are doing.  We are targeting information in order to get the right tone at the right time.  For example, we are putting information and suggestions out on menu planning, using common store cupboard items, and nudging towards healthier eating.  In this way we’re continuing to incorporate our pre-pandemic strategic goals in everything we do but ensuring it is done appropriately.

We continue to pursue funding to increase our production and delivery capabilities and have also been in touch with other organisations to obtain hot meal provision, important sanitary and hygiene products that can be distributed alongside the meals/fruit and veg boxes.

So, it's been a busy week for ECF!!  We remain committed to delivering food, support and services to those who most need them and know there are any more organisations cross Scotland doing the same. Watch this space for more updates as we continue our efforts in this time of crisis.

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