“Sunday dinner was always a tradition in my family,” says Winchburgh resident Anne Wilson, aka the Sunday Dinner Lady.
“I love a Sunday roast. It brings the family together, and a plate of fresh hot food has an energy about it that you don’t get in the same way with dried and canned food. Dad and mum cooked, and we were all together to relax and eat, talk and laugh.”
So when she heard about a friend who supplements the excellent work that the food banks do in East Lothian by providing fresh ingredients for a weekly Sunday roast, she immediately wanted to do the same for families in West Lothian.
Since delivering the first box of dinner ingredients in January, Anne has been inundated with requests – and very positive feedback from the recipients – and is currently at capacity of providing 20 dinners per Sunday.
A box consists of everything you need to make a hearty roast from scratch
A box consists of everything you need to make a hearty roast from scratch: one fresh chicken (supermarket-wrapped, so cooking instructions are included), potatoes, three different vegetables, yorkshire puddings, gravy granules and a dessert. The size is suitable for the size of the receiving family. The servings are generous, and there are usually enough leftovers for a dinner on Monday night too or to freeze for another day. A vegetarian option is available on request, as are gluten free and dairy free products for families that have these intolerances.
“My family and I went through a hard time financially a few years back, and it was only through the support of friends and family that we survived. Gestures like inviting us out for a meal when money was really tight, meant the world to us. I want to be able to give that hope to others who are struggling; you can come through this.” In many cases, it’s a temporary period of difficulty, nothing to be embarrassed about, but a time when a helping hand can make all the difference between getting through or getting further behind.
“My family and I went through a hard time financially a few years back, and it was only through the support of friends and family that we survived.
There is so much about this that is good. Fresh food is logistically very hard for food banks to provide so for those relying on them, an injection of vibrant fresh vegetables offers a wonderful energy to start the week. “Many of the families we deliver to mention how much a good Sunday roast means to them, so to be able to offer it to their family, or to be able to invite friends round and share a hearty meal, means a lot.” This gesture of kindness, one meal, can give hope and a lift with benefits that last far beyond the time it takes to digest dinner!
While it might sound quite simple – assemble ingredients for a dinner and deliver it – there is a huge amount of work behind the scenes. Anne works full time as a sales team manager at Sky, has a husband and three children; the Sunday Dinners are all done in her “spare” time! She needs to be constantly applying for sources of funding and donations. Currently it is mostly funded by generous individuals donating on the Go Fund Me page as well as some local supermarkets who donate fresh vegetables on a Friday night. Anne collects the donations, purchases the chicken and any other items needed, assembles the boxes, then Saturday is spent delivering.
There is so much about this that is good. Fresh food is logistically very hard for food banks to provide so for those relying on them, an injection of vibrant fresh vegetables offers a wonderful energy to start the week.
Anne has just been joined by two more volunteers to help out, including Tricia and Mo who both work at Almondvale Stadium. Mo is a chef and is providing recipe ideas to include for the leftovers, and Tricia is helping with admin and deliveries. Fauldhouse & Breich Valley Community Development Trust / Timebank members now do the deliveries to Fauldhouse area on a Friday. “My teenagers also help assemble the boxes and come with me to deliver, since they too are fans of a Sunday roast!” she says.
Do you know someone who would benefit from a Sunday dinner box? You can directly refer, or self-refer to the Sunday Dinner Lady. Find the facebook page @Sundaydinnerlady and message them to start the process. You do not need to be in receipt of foodbank vouchers to receive a fresh Sunday dinner box.
Ultimately it will most likely be based on referrals from other organisations, but at this stage they are happy to help as many people as they can via direct referrals.
Can you help?
Monetary donations are needed to buy the ingredients and to be able to increase the number of dinners provided each week. Please donate via the Go Fund Me page www.gofundme.com/f/west-lothian-fresh-sunday-dinners
For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/Sundaydinnerlady/
Sunday Dinner Lady - West Lothian Fresh Sunday Dinner Boxes is not yet a registered charity but status will be applied for as soon as possible.
Article published in Konect April 2020
Author: Helen-Jane Shearer