Aberdeen food charity helping hundreds of families in need

The city based drop-in centre is gearing up to help tackle school holiday hunger.

Aberdeen food charity helping hundreds of families in need
Festa Okafor is among those who receive weekly parcels.

The Touch of Love charity was initially founded as a drop-in centre, providing food to those in need in Aberdeen.

Set up just a few weeks before the pandemic, when lockdown hit it immediately became apparent that demand was so high it needed to rethink how it helped people.

The group now delivers packages to hundreds of families and people in need across the city.

Festa Okafor is among those who receive weekly parcels.

“I found it difficult to get a job with my two kids,” she told STV News.

“I got a job – but there was no way to take care of the kids while doing the job and I couldn’t afford to pay for someone to look after them. They’ve really helped us as a family. Sometimes I feel like crying – I’m just so grateful.”

Neil Ewen and his dad also benefit from the service.

“We use everything out of this bag,” he said. It’s all donations. It’s amazing, it’s great.”

The charity operates from a church in the Torry area of Aberdeen and was founded by Jane Akadiri. As someone with lived experience of food poverty, it was a venture she felt compelled to take on.

“Growing up in Nigeria, I have been in that situation where there wasn’t any food in the house and my parents have had to tell us there’s nothing to eat, just maybe drink water and go to bed,” she said.

“I know it’s heartbreaking for a child because you kind of see your parents like super heroes. You feel like whatever they are going through, there has to be food for me to eat.”

With the school holidays about to start, the charity will now be giving extra support to those who normally rely on free meals.

“The main thing is that children should be cared for – no child should sleep hungry, irrespective of what their parents are going through,” said Ms Akadiri.

“When you hear those heartbreaking stories…the only thing you can do is help.”