The coronavirus outbreak has forced the traditional method of providing food to the homeless through a single venue to change drastically due social distancing rules.

Glasgow-based charities and communities have been mobilised for what is believed to be the city's largest coordinated delivery of food parcels to the homeless. 

Over 350 meals are being delivered every day to the city's homeless as charities join forces to ensure everyone in the city’s emergency homeless accommodation remains safe and fed during the coronavirus crisis.

The half a dozen charities and groups include the Simon Community Scotland, Help for the Homeless (H4TH), Destiny Church, The Marie Trust, Social Bite and Turning Point
Scotland (TPS). 

READ MORE: Glasgow Airport accommodates coronavirus testing facility

Lorraine McGrath, chief executive at Simon Community Scotland, said: "A crisis often brings out the best in people and we're seeing that here with so many people and groups coming together to make sure people are safe and have access to good food.

“This is a difficult time and we're working to help people to self-isolate.

"We don't want people putting themselves or others at risk by coming into the city when we can get the food to them.”

Due to the pandemic, meals are being delivered individually to reduce the need for people to gather en masse in the city centre which would put themselves and others at risk. 

With support from the council, the Simon Community took over a Glasgow hotel two weeks ago to ensure homeless people were housed during the crisis. 

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “We’re working closely with a number of key third sector providers along with the charity Social Bite and the Wheatley Group to co-ordinate the delivery of food vouchers, food parcels, meals and microwaves where appropriate to all the homeless people we’re accommodating.

"This is a challenging task. However, we are absolutely committed to reducing the risk of infection and ensuring people have access to food.”

Microwaves have been provided to everyone who needs one so that the meals can be heated up. 

A combined £4000 raised by staff and volunteers at Help for the Homeless and Turning Point Scotland has allowed for the purchase of the microwaves, with an additional £1000 donated by Simon Community Scotland.

Melody Whitley, from Help for the Homeless, said: “I’m just amazed and delighted at the speed and willingness for everyone to get on board to make sure all of the people in this situation have a hot meal.

"From everyone who has donated money, organised logistics and to all of the fabulous groups supplying and delivering all of the food: thank you.”

Glasgow City Mission and The Invisibles voluntary organisation have each offered to help distribute the food, plus other essentials such as clothing and toiletries.

Any help goes a long way in supporting Glasgow's homeless during these hard times.

READ MORE: Glasgow City Council's coronavirus flats plan so homeless can self-isolate

Megan Thomson, service leader at Simon Community Scotland, added: “We are
open for food heroes to come join us in supporting people who are struggling at this moment in their lives and have the same concerns, fears and restrictions we all face in these unprecedented times.

“Whether you are one person, a community group or a company with resources, we would love to hear from you.

“The groups providing all of the cooking are stretching themselves and going above and beyond, so any additional help to provide these meals would be incredible.

“We are also happy to accept vouchers or kettle food donations for food parcels or bulk food donations to distribute to the teams who are cooking all of the lovely meals going out.”

Volunteers and charities are hopeful that the community spirit seen during the outbreak will continue after as well. 

Frances O’Donnell, from Turning Point Scotland, added: “This crisis has brought together a variety of groups and businesses that have discovered a common goal and have seen the benefits of joint working and sharing of resources directed at those most in need.

"Hopefully, in future, we can continue this coordinated approach.”

You can support the Simon Community by donating or contacting them through their website

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