FAMILIES across the Capital who rely on food banks will be tucking into a delicious Christmas feast – thanks to a big-hearted volunteer.
Eileen Inglis has teamed up with award-winning chef Colin Hinds, owner of the Kilted Lobster in Stockbridge, to serve up enough turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings for 100.
Giving up Christmas Day to help others is something we are passionate about – myself and Eileen both wanted to do something to help the community.Colin Hinds
And the diners will arrive and head home in style after taxi firm City Cabs offered to put on free transport.
Eileen, 45, decided she had to act after spending time visiting food banks across the city.
She said: “I’ve always wanted to do something to help those who are less fortunate on Christmas Day but I just didn’t know what.
“I often find the whole commercial side of Christmas a bit stressful and a bit much – and that made me think perhaps other families feel the same, too.
“It can be a really difficult time, so by doing this hopefully we are taking the strain away from those who rely on food banks to make ends meet.”
Recent statistics from the Trussell Trust show that the number of people using food banks in Scotland has increased to more than 60,000 in the last six months.
In Edinburgh, 7356 people have been referred to them, compared with 1535 in Aberdeen and 10,057 in Glasgow.
Euan Walker, operations manager of seven food bank centres in the Capital, said: “Unfortunately, we see no let up in the need for crisis food provision across Edinburgh and with further cuts to social security I don’t see the situation improving soon.
“We used to give out double the amount of food to see people through the festive period but for the first time this year we will open our food bank centres, including one on New Year’s Day, ensuring men, women and children do not go hungry while others are feasting.
“It has been a privilege to support Eileen by promoting her Christmas dinner initiative to our clients ensuring they have the opportunity of food and fellowship at what can be a lonely time of year.”
Dozens of diners have signed up for tomorrow’s meal at the Circus Cafe Bistro in St Mary’s Street, where volunteers from across the country will act as waiters and waitresses.
Eileen received a number of donations from the public as well as the Edinburgh Junk Food project to fund the dinner, while a Just Giving page has been set up online to give every family a supermarket voucher.
Mr Hinds, who will be doing the cooking, said: “My suppliers from the Kilted Lobster will be supplying all the food, so families can expect a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Giving up Christmas Day to help others is something we are passionate about – myself and Eileen both wanted to do something to help the community.”
Les McVay, owner of City Cabs, said: “We are happy to play a small part in this event.
“The true spirit of Christmas is often lost. It should be about people being together and it’s a privilege to be able to help out.”