A charity that provides meals for people living in one of Dundee’s most deprived areas says demand has quadrupled.
Volunteers at Lochee Community Larder said that they are now handing out around 100 meals a day.
But as the demand increases, so does the strain on resources – with the charity’s cosy space, where people would come for meals in the evening, now having to close.
Samantha Roberts from Lochee Community Larder told STV News: “We’re seeing a lot of students as well. Loads more students are coming across, especially international students.
“It’s everybody; there isn’t a set criteria for who’s turning up now. It’s just so much more people with the cost of living crisis, the energy bills, everything’s just, it’s all impacting.”
David Smith used to volunteer for the Larder. But now he relies on it.
“If it wasn’t for these people, I wouldn’t be here right now,” he explained.
David said that it means so much to him that, despite struggling to afford food himself, he gives what little he has to the charity.
“At the moment, I donate £40 a month, which helps them provide food for people like myself who’re hungry. We need help,” he said.
The charity’s main purpose is to provide food for those who are struggling to get by.
But for many, the support it delivers goes far beyond simply putting food on the table.
“These here can be the difference between life and death,” said Samuel Drummond, a regular at the Lochee Community Larder.
“I’ve been here a few times where, to be honest, I have not been in a good place.
“We have been through suicidal thoughts. We’ve been there. I have been there. And these people here have helped me and turned it around for me.”
Another two frequent faces at the Larder, Caitlin Gray and Brandon Boylan, acknowledge that there can often be a fear of stigma attached to reaching out for help.
“At first, I was a bit hesitant to come down as I was worried I would be judged,” explained Brandon.
“But since I’ve been here, there’s been nothing but great people.”
“I can’t think of a better way to describe this place other than home,” Caitlin added.
“I feel like this is a place where I won’t be judged. I can ask for help, advice, and most importantly, it feels like family.”
Help and support is available now if you need it. The Samaritans can be contacted any time, from any phone, free on 116 123, email at email@example.com, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch. Details of other services and more information can be found on the NHS website here.