A woman has told how she would have struggled to survive without the help of a food bank during the pandemic.
The service user, who wished to remain anonymous, has been receiving food parcels from social enterprise CFINE throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The organisation works to tackle poverty and build resilience through a range of support and services for and with disadvantaged, vulnerable, low-income individuals, families and communities in the north-east.
Between March and November 2020, it delivered 52,577 emergency food parcels to thousands of individuals and families experiencing food insecurity, equivalent to 625,916 meals.
And CFINE is expecting unprecedented demand for help during the winter months.
The beneficiary, who did not want to be named, told how the Covid-19 pandemic left her feeling “isolated”.
She said: “I suffer from mental health problems which include agoraphobia and depression. I’m used to getting Asda deliveries but when Covid-19 hit, the slots were all prioritised for other people.
“I was struggling beforehand and the pandemic made everything significantly harder.
“People used to come and see me all the time, but with the restrictions, it meant that socialising in houses wasn’t allowed and it left me feeling isolated.
“One of my support workers put me in touch with CFINE and they were so helpful, especially at a time when you don’t want to go to food banks and mix with other people.”
The service user praised the “phenomenal” efforts of the organisation’s volunteers.
She added: “It must be a huge undertaking to deliver so many parcels, but I had people turn up in all weather on bicycles to get the packages to me. It’s been amazing to see what people can do during this difficult time.
“When I was asked to speak about CFINE I didn’t have enough good words to say about them.
“CFINE also put me in touch with people who helped me to get my winter fuel payment. They don’t just send out food parcels, they also provide benefits advice which has been really helpful.
“It’s really quite phenomenal how they have pulled it off, I couldn’t have survived without CFINE.”
Last year, the Original 106 Christmas Appeal, which was backed by the Evening Express, raised thousands of pounds for CFINE.
The annual appeal aims to help families battling poverty in Aberdeen and throughout the north-east.
Lisa Duthie, CFINE chief executive, said: “We know that these unprecedented times brought hardship on many of us in Aberdeen.
“CFINE continues to offer a helping hand to anyone who needs it. If you feel swept away by the rising tide of challenges, we are here to support you and your family with emergency food, advice on navigating the welfare system and managing your money, as well as period products.
“Don’t hesitate to contact us for help at email@example.com or on 01224596156/0800 0304 713 (free number).
“We also support community groups and charities who are currently providing food aid to their communities with the provision of food supplies.
“Contact us on 01224 596156 or at GRobbie@cfine.org to discuss how we can help you.”