Watch as volunteer Edinburgh foodbank van breaks down loaded with surprise £900 donation from member of the public
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But things have not going smoothly for volunteer Donna Sawyers who had to deal with a breakdown – with a full load of donations.
Donna, 44, from Juniper Green, purchased a Ford Transit van earlier this year for her dog walking business but owing to the pandemic has not been able to use it as intended.
She decided to put it to good use and started her The Big Blue Van Xmas Food Appeal, aiming to deliver as many donations to Broomhouse-based The Edinburgh Food Project as possible in the first week of December.
She said: “What basically started as a nice wee idea to fill my van with a few donations from people has just gone crazy."
She did one delivery on Sunday and with the help of friend Jenny Adams, another three on Monday.
On Monday evening, a member of the public showed up with almost £900 worth of essentials.
She said: “The lovely lady, Marsha, came all the way from Trinity and had spread the word that she was going to be donating if anyone wanted to join her and I think that everyone donated cash, almost £900, so she then went and spent all the money on another whole van’s worth of food, toiletries, baby food, pet food, sanitary products – just everything.
“It was wonderful, I couldn’t believe it.”
All set to deliver the surprise fifth load on Tuesday morning with friend Gail Lawson, Ms Sawyers buckled up and started driving only to realise the van was a bit ‘skewiff’ and had a flat tyre. The pair were stuck on Baberton Avenue for over two hours.
She continued: “It was a bit like a comedy sketch really. I called the Edinburgh Food Project to see if they could help and come to pick up the food and they sent a van and two lovely volunteers – Willie Bell and Bill McKay – and helped empty our van into theirs.
“We actually had some people stop and donate things while we were waiting. They spotted the big blue van and knew what we were doing."
Ms Sawyers added the cherry on top of what was already an incredible community effort, saying: "A local lady, Ann, passed by and gave me the number for a guy who does tyres so I was able to get him down to help.
"I had to go off to work so I left my car keys and the money for the tyre with the local garage, Belmont Road Garage. When I went to pick up my keys later, the girls – my friends, – unbeknown to me, had all clubbed together and paid £60 for the new tyre.”
Ms Sawyers is blown away by the support she has received and wants to thank every person who has donated and helped her pull this off.
She plans on repeating the donation rally in six months when foodbanks are likely running low again.
She added: “I feel so lucky to live in such a nice, supportive community. This has been great fun and I can’t thank everyone enough.”