Last weekend the Comhairle rounded of Volunteer week by acknowledging the hard work of all involved in the Salvation Army and Stornoway Golf Club’s joint food distribution project.
With the interruptions brought on by COVID-19, The Salvation Army, working together with partner agencies, moved into immediate action to ensure people impacted by this situation were cared for. The day after lock-down measure were introduced, the Salvation Army opened their hall to give away food, toiletries, baby items, sanitary products, and offer other practical support to anyone who needed it.
The Salvation Army have been well supported by Stornoway Golf Club who have allowed them to take over their clubhouse. On top of offering the use of the club house several Golf Club staff have worked with the Salvation Army as volunteers. Since moving to the Golf Club the project has been extended now offering; fresh fruit, vegetables, cupboard foods, fresh milk, toiletries, household cleaning items and baby products all free of charge to those who need some extra support at this difficult time. As well as food the Salvation Army have also offered books, DVDs, CDs, toys, and games to help to keep people entertained whilst having to remain at home.
It is estimated that over 250 people per week are reached with the practical assistance and emotional support this project is providing. In order to keep on top of such a demand, Salvation Army and Golf Club volunteers have had to continually restock, finding wholesale suppliers, sorting though the generous donations that have been made and critically being there to make people feel at ease as they come in to the building. Throughout the distribution of goods high standards of hygiene and social distancing are observed.
Lt. Callum Newton, commanding officer of the Stornoway Salvation Army said “We are extremely grateful to the public for their support and donations, which have helped us keep going while the demand is so high. I am also especially grateful for all the volunteers who have helped to make this possible. The Salvation Army under normal circumstances is dependant on our fantastic team of volunteers who help us to provide the levels of support that we do from our Bayhead hall. Although many of them are not able to help with the project for the moment, they are all ready and waiting to get back to helping people as soon as this is all over. I want to thank them too for all the work they have always done before the pandemic and will do again when it’s over and for their patience in the meantime.
We are not resting on our laurels and we are still exploring new avenues to provide the best support we can. We are open every Wednesday and Saturday 11am until 2pm and are currently seeing around 100 different people each week coming to the project for support. We will keep providing this support as long as we are required to and are able to recognise that the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis will be long lasting for our island community.”