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Covid commendation honour for Buckie food bank


By Alan Beresford

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BUCKIE food bank is one of a number of local groups and individuals to be honoured for their work during the initial months of lockdown.

Majors Bruce and Isobel Smith along with food bank volunteer Elizabeth Dinwoodie (right) proudly show off the Covid commendation award. ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Majors Bruce and Isobel Smith along with food bank volunteer Elizabeth Dinwoodie (right) proudly show off the Covid commendation award. ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth

The group, which was started by Salvation Army Majors Bruce and Isobel Smith in September 2017 and is run by a small team of dedicated volunteers, has been presented with a Letter of Commendation from the Lord Lieutenants of Banffshire and Moray – Andy Simpson and Seymour Monro respectively – for their sterling work in helping keep some of the most vulnerable in the community fed.

This included older people or those with medical conditions who were forced to shield and those left short of money due to redundancy or reduced income.

News of the honour came as something as a bolt out of the blue, as Major Bruce Smith explained.

"It really was a surprise when the Letter of Commendation came through. We'd been late getting home and there it was waiting for us when we arrived.

"It's a big boost not just for the volunteers who have put so much in over the past few months but also for the whole community who have supported us with donations of food or cash.

"We have a team of six or so volunteers who have put in a tremendous amount of work to cope with the steep rise on demand since lockdown.

"In the interests of safety we have tried to keep the group small, the aim being to try and keep as many people at home as possible."

Speaking to the Advertiser back in July, Major Smith confessed that the demand placed on the food bank by the lockdown was beyond anything he had experienced during his 29 years as a Salvation Army officer.

While that period tailed off during the summer, the current rise in Covid infections across the UK looks set to plunge the future once more into uncertainty, which is very likely to have ramifications for Buckie food bank.

Major Isobel Smith said: "We're already at what would be our winter figures now in terms of demand.

"With the furlough scheme set to come to an end on October 31 plus the ongoing situation with new infections we're expecting more people to be affected through loss of or reduced income.

"We're expecting an uptick in demand for the food bank very soon. With people having less money and facing higher fuel bills many are going to find themselves coming up a bit short."

She added that donations of food and money were always welcome. These can be handed in to the Buckie Salvation Army hall on New Street on Tuesdays between 11am and 2.30pm.

Anyone who feels they may need to make use of the food bank are asked to call (01542) 832790 in the first instance and leave a message should their not be an answer. Messages are usually picked up on a daily basis.

Around 100 organisations and groups have been honoured with a Letter of Commendation, the first time such awards have been issued by the two Lord Lieutenancies.

Click here to view the full list of awardees in Moray.



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