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Moray Food Plus, Forres Area Community Trust and Moray Firth Credit Union opening community pantry at Forres Town Hall

By Garry McCartney

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Mairi McCallum (left) (Moray Food Plus), Jackie Nicol (Moray Firth Credit Union) and Debbie Herron (FACT). Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Mairi McCallum (left) (Moray Food Plus), Jackie Nicol (Moray Firth Credit Union) and Debbie Herron (FACT). Picture: Daniel Forsyth

FORRES Town Hall is to host a new scheme to support people who are experiencing difficulty accessing food.

The community pantry – a collaboration between charities Moray Food Plus (MFP) and Forres Area Community Trust (FACT), as well as savings and loans cooperative Moray Firth Credit Union (MFCU) – was granted £1564 from the Berry Burn Community Fund for equipment, marketing and set-up costs.

MFP project manager, Mairi McCallum, added that a new pantry will open in Keith too and MFP also plans to run a Big Blue Mobile Pantry.

She said: “The Forres pantry will replace the community larder which has been operating for years, and will contain quality fresh and frozen surplus food via the FareShare scheme, which would otherwise go to waste. There will be a small charge for people to access it, but the value of their shopping will be much higher than what they actually pay. There will also be some free items including donations made directly to the pantry or any other surplus we receive.”

FareShare is the UK’s longest running food redistribution charity and 2019 marked its 25-year anniversary. In that time FareShare has provided food equivalent to 236.8 million meals via charities. June saw the launch of FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose Fund, a new £3 million fund which offsets additional costs faced by the food industry for diverting surplus food.

FACT development manager Debbie Herron said: “We’re excited about the pilot.

“The Forres Larder is currently available to people who need emergency food provision, referred by or waiting for a parcel from MFP. The pantry is a much more inclusive model.

“FACT has worked in partnership with MFP and MFCU for a long time, most recently during the pandemic. Together, we supported clients facing financial hardship, experiencing social isolation and other challenges.

“We provided, food, volunteer befrienders, care packages, financial advice.

“We also delivered meals prepared by MFP and provided food vouchers.

“This project is the next logical step in reducing food waste, increasing opportunities for volunteering and providing support.”

The Forres pantry is open on Saturdays from 10am-noon in the Lesser Hall. Volunteers are required. Call FACT on 01309 674 388 or email info@forresarea.org if you can help.

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