Projects which provide emergency free meals to people in Scotland will share £700,000 to help them reach more people during the coronavirus crisis.
Funding has been allocated to 19 projects across the country, including £350,000 to the Wheatly Group to provide 8500 deliveries over the next three months.
Another 18 projects will share £400,000 to help those in minority ethnic households, family support groups or mental health teams.
The money comes from the £70m Scottish Food Fund, announced by communities secretary Aileen Campbell in March.
Around £30m of this is for food deliveries to the “shielded” groups at highest clinical risk. A further £30m is for local authorities for free school meals and food support for older people, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women.
The remaining money is for charities and other projects, with the Edinburgh-based Social Bite initiative receiving £500,000.
On Monday, the communities secretary confirmed more community food schemes would benefit.
Ms Campbell said: “As part of Scotland’s £70m Food Fund, we’re making an initial £10m available to help support community food projects, and these latest grants will help ensure people are not only fed but treated with dignity.
“I am very grateful to be working alongside the Trussell Trust, FareShare and other members of the Independent Food Network to provide people at risk in our communities with the basic essentials their families need. I’m particularly pleased that FareShare is now working closely with many councils to strengthen local responses.
“The existing close partnership working we already had with these leading food charities has significantly stepped up to ensure people who are in the greatest financial risk as a result of the impact of the pandemic have access to food and basic essentials.”
She continued: “Uniquely among the countries of the UK, the ‘cash-first’ elements of approach mean that where people can safely get out to buy food, we make sure they have access to the cash to do so.
“This is the most dignified way we can provide food support and we will continue to do all we can to help people overcome any barriers in their way. I am pleased that these charities have welcomed this approach as the most dignified way of supporting people with food insecurity.”
Martin Armstrong, CEO of the housing and property management firm Wheatley, said: “We are delighted the Scottish Government has agreed to help fund our EatWell emergency food delivery service over the next three months.
“This support will be very much appreciated by the thousands of individuals and families in Wheatley homes across the country relying on this vital service.
“I am confident that by continuing to work well together, we will be able to tackle the considerable challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis.”