The Covid crisis has impacted on everyone but it is society’s most vulnerable that suffers most.
With this in mind, Leith Theatre, which has recently closed the doors in a bid to protect itself against the financial impact of Covid-19, has set up a partnership with new community interest company, Empty Kitchens Full Hearts, allowing support to the Leith community in which it is based. Empty Kitchens Full Hearts started out in April as a response to Covid-19 directly affecting vulnerable people who already had limited access to food and it aims to feed those particularly in need during the crisis and beyond.
Lynn Morrison, Executive Director at Leith Theatre, said, “When we heard that they were looking for a new kitchen, we knew that this worthwhile enterprise was something that would fit with our ethos and would be the perfect silver lining to the cloud of our closure. It is a way of supporting our community in a very proactive, visible way and something we are able to do despite being shut to the public until 2021…”
The Thomas Morton Hall at Leith Theatre has been transformed into a bustling food storage, drop-off and packing centre. The Hall’s kitchens, usually out of use, are back in business with a team of professional chefs working round the clock to prepare a selection of healthy foods for free delivery and takeaway. Using food donated by supermarkets, charities and individuals, and utensils and catering equipment given by closed kitchens and restaurants, the team have already sent out 86,456 free meals.
Lewis McLachlan, founder of this much-needed initiative, said, “All of the meals are cooked from scratch by professional catering staff who have either lost their jobs or been on the furlough scheme and are giving their time for free, alongside an army of volunteers packing and delivering.
“There is no sign that the need for this service is slowing down. At the start of May we were providing 4000 meals per week and less than two months later this has doubled to over 8000 with the week beginning the 13th of July forecast at 11,000. I believe these numbers are only going to get higher and moving into the Thomas Morton Hall is a key element for us to be ready to help more as people need it.”
A hot food takeaway offering is now available between 11:30-12:30 and 16:30-17:30 every day, seven days a week for those unfortunately unable to reheat food themselves. This will be served from the main entrance porch at Leith Theatre with access at the main gates clearly marked.
Although the majority of the food donated would otherwise go to waste, and the project is run by volunteers, there are still costs of packaging, fuel, PPE and the additional running costs associated with such a huge operation.
Donations to Empty Kitchens Full Hearts can be made via CrowdFunder
Donations to Leith Theatre can be made via JustGiving
Leith Theatre and Empty Kitchens Full Hearts will continue to transform donated food into full meal packs, wasting nothing so that others may want for nothing.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with safe access to food, please contact the team on 07895 347157.