Local churches in the area are preparing to launch a charity initiative to help people in local parishes who may be struggling to make ends meet during these straightened financial times.
The project will be known as the ‘basics bank’ and will provide the fundamentals to keep a family going for three days.
A spokesperson for the scheme said: “At a time when it is becoming increasingly common to hear of how today’s economic constrictions are having an effect on many people in our community, the Church of Scotland in the Machars is undertaking an initiative to help those families who, because of a range of circumstances, struggle from time to time to meet the needs of basic day-to-day living requirements.
“This could be because of a sudden crisis in the family, such as bereavement, injury or illness.
“It could also be that benefit conditions have changed and there is a gap before new arrangements can be made. Loss of employment is also likely to be a significant reason.
“Although we know that many of the frontline community services and organisations will be able to provide support, a survey of these organisations undertaken by the churches shows clearly that there is an increasing need to be able to respond to short-term crisis situations. More and more, there are people who struggle to put food on the table.
“Both statutory and voluntary community organisations which have agreed to participate will use a voucher scheme to refer families or individuals to the basics bank, to the contact nearest to their own home area.
“Arrangements will be made to supply an emergency bag of non-perishable foodstuffs and basic toiletries – there will be sufficient to keep a family going for three days.
“This can be collected from an identified point in the community.
“There will be four distribution points – Newton Stewart, Wigtown, Whithorn, and Port William.
“Everyone can make donations of non-perishable goods to the basics bank by using the donation bins and boxes around the area.
“You need to start looking out for the blue wheelie bins! These will be situated in shops, community centres, and schools.
“Churches will also have collection points, and all will have a distinctive logo.
“An appropriate selection of the donated goods will be included, and bags will be adjusted to suit the size of family, and to help with baby care.
“All the foodstuffs will be non-perishable and have a long shelf life.
“The goods in the basics bank bags will include: dried UHT milk, packets or tins of soup, dried pasta, pasta sauces, tinned tomatoes, tins of tuna, sardines or ham, rice, tinned fruit, tinned custard, tea bags, coffee, life-long cartons of squash or fruit juice, sugar, jam and basic toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, soap etc. In addition, where appropriate, nappies and baby formula could also be supplied.
“All the churches are working together to ensure that this scheme is up and running before Christmas, and the launch of the scheme is set for the first week in December.
“The success depends on the churches, the support of the organisations taking part, and also on the community who will donate to it. Please join in and donate!”