Valentine's food donations aim to spread some love among older people in West of Scotland
Published on 11 February 2021 10:52 AM
It can be one of the most difficult days of the year for people who are on their own.
But West Dunbartonshire volunteers will be delivering some Valentine’s Day cheer to lonely older people, thanks to Strathmore Foods and Age Scotland.
The food company teamed up with the charity and Clydebank’s Golden Friendship Community Hall to donate 1000 meals, with greetings cards. They will be distributed to community groups, housing complexes and individuals throughout the county.
Strathmore Foods, a long-term supporter of Age Scotland, said it was an opportunity to spread some “love and support” to Scotland’s older communities at an especially difficult time.
Jim McLaren, the manager of the Golden Friendship Community Hall, is coordinating the distribution on Thursday 11th February. The hall welcomed hundreds of older people and those with disabilities each week before the pandemic, but has now moved to offering virtual activities and support.
Last year, they distributed 16,400 packed lunches to local people who would normally attend lunch clubs.
Mr McLaren said: “This donation is fantastic and we hope it will brighten people’s day. We have so many people who are feeling lonely and really missing human contact now. It’s not just about the food – many are really happy just to have that chat on the doorstep and connect with somebody.
“During the first lockdown, we had lovely weather and everyone was out in their gardens. But this time it’s completely different. People are stuck in their house and their mental health is suffering. Many of them don’t even have family members or neighbours who call to check on them.
“We’ve had a wonderful response from volunteers and groups to the donation, and we’re looking forward to putting a smile on people’s faces.”
Brian Sloan, Chief Executive of Age Scotland, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Strathmore Foods for their generosity, as well as the team from the Golden Friendships Community Hall. They have been doing a wonderful job throughout the pandemic, delivering food and friendship and making sure no one is forgotten about.
“This can be an especially difficult time of year for older people on their own, and the pandemic has only made this worse. Loneliness was already a huge problem in Scotland, but now hundreds of thousands of older people are feeling more isolated than ever before.
“Our helpline hears every day from people who feel desperately lonely and haven’t spoken to a friend or relative in weeks. There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has taken a huge toll on older people’s emotional health and well-being. While the vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel, a return to normal life still seems a long way off.
“Something as simple as a meal and a friendly chat on the doorstep can make a big difference to someone who is feeling alone. This Valentine’s Day, why not take the opportunity to connect with an older neighbour or relative and check they’re doing OK?"
Julie Nisbet, Managing Director of Strathmore Foods, said: “For Valentine's Day this year we wanted to spread some love and support to Scotland's older communities, particularly to people who may be spending the day alone due to lockdown. Age Scotland do some fantastic work in supporting Scotland's older people year round, and we're very pleased to be continuing our partnership with them with this initiative.
“We hope one of our delicious ready meals made with proper Scottish ingredients and served up with a special Valentine's message from the Strathmore Foods team will raise a smile on the day. Our thanks also go to the many volunteers at Age Scotland who are working hard across the country to make sure no older person feels alone.”