Crisis is being shouldered by charity which is finding it hard to cope
A charity launched by chefs is facing soaring demand due to the cost of living crisis.
Edinburgh-based Empty Kitchens Full Hearts has provided more than 1.5 million free meals to those in need in less than two years.
It was launched by chefs who found themselves out of work following the closure of the hospitality industry due to lockdown and has now launched a fresh appeal for funds.
Emily Gifford, fundraising manager at the charity, said: “It feels like not long ago that we started emerging from the shadow of the pandemic, and now, as people are finally getting back on their feet, we’re hit with this cost of living crisis.
“For many of our service users, a great deal of who have families and young children, the rise in prices of virtually everything really does mean making the impossible choice between food and fuel.
“We know it’s an incredibly tough time for everyone, however, we have no choice but to once again appeal to the incredibly kind people of Edinburgh and beyond to ensure we can continue feeding those in our community who no longer have safe and reliable access to food.”
It delivers food parcels of lunch, dinner, and snacks to vulnerable Edinburgh residents, and relies heavily on donated food and volunteers’ time to ensure each service user receives their food.
With inflation due to hit 11% by October, the food charity worries that the situation will become even more unmanageable for those already struggling to feed themselves.
Gifford added: "We’re currently providing 1,200 daily meals, and the number of new requests for food is increasing each week. Of the enquiries we’re getting, more than one in five of the requests are from families with children living in the household.
“Factors mentioned by people when asked what prompted them to contact us have included poverty (including a delay in receiving benefit payments), unemployment, illness, social isolation, and homelessness, which will all certainly worsen as inflation continues to rise.”
Janet Jones, business & finance lead at Empty Kitchens Full Hearts, said: “Without additional funds, and time generously volunteered by our local community, we won’t be able to continue feeding the local people who already rely on us, let alone be able to commit to providing food for all the people contacting us in need of our service.
“It only costs us £1.50 to feed someone for one day, but with over 6,000 meals to be cooked and delivered weekly, our costs quickly add up. We’re hoping to raise £50,000 to ensure we can keep feeding vulnerable people over the summer as we are the only lifeline for many of the people who rely on us for their daily meals.”