When lockdown started in March we took the decision to close our emergency food distribution centres and deliver food parcels to those in need. The number of people seeking support due to food insecurity rose drastically in April and May when we saw a 48 per cent rise in numbers.

We heard from people who had abruptly lost their jobs and incomes, worried about how they would buy food or pay bills. We were contacted by single parents who were worried about the increased food bill now that their children were at home all day. We were contacted by family members elsewhere, worried about how their elderly relative would access food.

West Dunbartonshire Council set up a crisis team, contacting and identifying residents in need of further support. Both WDCF and Food for Thought worked with the crisis team to respond to identified food insecurity needs, ensuring residents had access to food the next day.

During lockdown, we were supported by the council’s community payback supervisors who delivered food parcels for 22 weeks. British Gas workers also supported us with deliveries for two months. We could not have managed without their support.

We reopened our emergency food distribution centres at the end of August. It has been great seeing people again, albeit in a very different way. We have put lots of measures in place to keep ourselves and the people we support safe.

Our distribution centres are a drop-in service; no referral is needed. Anyone in need can turn up, speak with our volunteers and receive support.

We no longer have seating areas inside the centres and can only have four people inside at any time. Due to this, you may wait a little longer to be seen. We have a hand sanitising station inside the doors and ask that masks are worn where possible. We will take your name, address and phone number on arrival for Track and Trace purposes.

When you speak with our volunteers, they will complete a short form with you. During this, we ask about the reason for you requiring emergency food support. We work closely with many advice and support agencies, and once the issue is identified, we can then refer you to the relevant organisation to get support to address the issue.

We can equip people with the support and information needed to move out of food insecurity. We also complete this form to ensure that the donations we receive from the very generous people of West Dunbartonshire are distributed to those who need it most.

We have basic bags with between seven and 10 non-perishable items, depending on the food stock we have that week. The number of basic bags given depends on the number of people living in each household. We then have crates set out along the tables where people can choose their food.

We have fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, chilled and frozen items, tea bags, coffee, toiletries, babyfood and nappies, pet food, cakes, pasties, sandwiches, baguettes, southern fried chicken, breakfast cereal and lots more.

The distribution centres are the Alexandria CE Centre, Thursdays, 11am – 12.30pm; the Concord Centre, Dumbarton, Fridays, 11am – 12.30pm; and the Hub CE Centre, Clydebank, Fridays, 1pm – 2.30pm.

Our other projects include School Holiday Brunch Bags, Christmas Toybank, Babybank, Fuel Poverty Bank and a School Uniform Bank.

We could not provide these projects without the support of the many people and businesses who donate to the charity. Their generosity and kindness is appreciated by so many. We have food donation trolleys in all major supermarkets as well in some smaller shops. We can accept cash donations in person or by bank transfer, with monetary donations used to purchase items we are low on.

Please get in touch if you feel we can help. Our team can answer any questions on 01389 764135 or wdcommunityfood share@outlook.com.