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Huntly group's takeaway Christmas lunch plan to beat Covid restrictions

By Pat Scott

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Plans are being made to ensure that everyone in the town is able to have a merry Christmas.

More than a dozen people, individuals and representing groups, have got together to plan an alternative festive meal to take the place of the community lunch on Christmas day which cannot go ahead due to restrictions on gatherings.

The Huntly centre of the Aberdeenshire North Foodbank and the Neep and Okra wing of Deveron Projects have secured funding to provide festive home deliveries.

Two options are offered - Neep and Okra will supply people who want to cook a meal from scratch with all the ingredients, except for perishable meat or poultry, a few treats and step by step instructions.

Another option, co-ordinated by the foodbank, working with Fiona Forrest at the Market Cafe and Fly Cup Catering is to be provided with a three course meal of soup, turkey and the trimmings and a pudding to heat on Christmas day.

Laura McNeil, from the Neep and Okra team said: "We hope the hamper of ingredients will help people whose Christmas budget can't quite stretch to cover everything in current circumstances - people who have maybe always been used to going to their parents and have not cooked a Christmas dinner.

"The ready cooked option is intended for people on their own who might have gone to the community lunch had it been possible.We want everyone to have the same opportunity as was offered by the lunch in the Stewart's Hall.

"Because of Covid, people are facing challenges, Christmas may not be normal but the group hope that by coming together to offer a meal, we can take away the stress for people who find themselves in a difficult situation."

Foodbank manager, Debbie Rennie, who coordinated last year's lunch said: "It's great we can have folk working together - through local people and groups we are trying to stand side by side with people who maybe are finding things a bit tight or who would have gone to their families, or come to the Christmas day meal in previous years. We are just trying to sprinkle some community spirit and goodwill around the town."

Huntly ASDitude is one of the partners and if families would like help with gifts they should email Huntly_ASDitude@outlook.com or text 07585 719567. Anyone able to donate a Christmas gift for a child, up to 16 years is asked to deliver them to Gordon Rural Action or its own base by December 18.

The plan is to source as much of the food as possible locally and Tesco and Asda will be asked for their support.

To allow volunteers to co-ordinate requests, anyone who would like either meal option should contact Di Mitchell via her Facebook page, Huntly Toon Gype or on 07710114439 or Carolyn Gatt on 07595601523 by Friday December 4, leaving a message to avoid incurring call costs, and their call will be returned.

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