18 June, 2021
The Larder’s food poverty project, Catalyst Kitchen, has reached 100,000 meals. The project, designed in response to Covid-19 restrictions, expected to support 300 people in one year, has now served over 100,000 meals supporting over 700 people.
Catalyst Kitchen initially began in December 2019 as a weekly pop-up dining service to support those experiencing food insecurity. These experiences were created as a social event for the community where you could come along, feel welcomed and gain support where needed. This project aimed to give people a sense of control, to be able to take part in community life, to feel nourished and to feel listened to as well as to disrupt the national answer to food insecurity, foodbanks.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and face-to-face dining experiences were no longer able to be held we quickly pivoted services to the delivery of a food lifeline; launched 3rd of April 2020. The pandemic resulted in a 45% increase in demand for foodbanks and unemployment rose by 97% in West Lothian. We knew the need for our services would be needed now more than ever.
Food made by The Larder chefs, and where possible, supported by young people in training is distributed by a team of volunteers on a weekly basis either directly to beneficiaries’ doors or to local pick-up points based in partnership organisations. The meal delivery has helped our beneficiaries feel happier, less stressed, less isolated and has improved their health and well-being. Our volunteers have increased their personal skills, confidence and have reduced isolation in a time of global isolation.
Angela Moohan, CEO, The Larder said: “It’s not something we celebrate, that we’re having to provide meals to people, but what we are is proud of the fact that we are able to come together, as a team, and deliver that number of meals to people who really needed them at a time of global crisis”
Homeless Beneficiary [Anonymous] said: “Being able to have that regular meal once a day, keeping you in a routine; it just makes your day a little bit easier”.
Suzanne Muir, Tenancy Sustainment Officer, West Lothian Council said: [The Larder] have all been fantastic supporting the young people in West Lothian. They have ensured young people were not left with no food either while staying in a hotel or in their own tenancy. [Their] support has really been invaluable and I can’t imagine how much harder things would have been for the young people if your service was not available.
As restrictions lessen, Catalyst Kitchen will be entering a new phase of provision. The need for support is still evident and if anything, COVID-19 shone a light on an existing issue among our communities.
To ensure we can continue our valuable service, we are seeking the support of the public. As funding comes to an end, many people experiencing hunger will be left without food. If you are in the position to support this project, please head to www.thelarder.org to make a donation and check out our video to learn more