A Paisley charity that has helped feed thousands of people in Renfrewshire throughout the pandemic has launched a heartfelt campaign to make sure families don’t go hungry at Christmas.
The Star Project has worked tirelessly to deliver food parcels to those in need, ensuring anyone facing food insecurity has had somewhere to turn.
As Christmas approaches, staff at the Wallace Street project began to fear that those who have relied on them for help may be left in crisis when the charity closes over the festive period.
It was then that its Healthy, Wealthy and Wise campaign was born in a bid to boost people’s health well-being.
Through the first-of-its-kind initiative, 75 families in Renfrewshire are set to be kitted out with ingredients, utensils and recipes to encourage them to get in the kitchen to cook tasty, low-cost meals over the festive period.
The much-loved charity has teamed up with Swedish furniture giant Ikea to bring the idea to life.
Dani Waddell, coordinator of Star’s community fridge, is the woman behind the project.
She said: “Christmas is supposed to be a time for families to be together and enjoy the festivities.
“We were very aware that some people rely on support from us and as we are closing for two weeks like many other organisations, we didn’t want to leave people struggling.
“We wanted to show families what they could do in the kitchen with low-cost ingredients while taking away the pressure of spending money and then not knowing what to do with the food they have bought.”
Launching today, the 12-day campaign will see the staff at Star team up with professional chefs at Ikea, where they have filmed a how-to guide for each recipe.
As well as providing everything families need, the recipes and videos will be available for anyone to watch on their Facebook page.
The Express will also be printing the recipes throughout the 12-day campaign.
Dani – who helped Ikea chefs come up with the recipe ideas using stock from Star’s community fridge – said it was a stroke of luck to team up with one of the world’s leading furniture companies.
She added: “We came up with the idea for the campaign and we had originally planned to tackle all the recipes and film the videos ourselves.
“It was just by pure chance that Ikea had contacted us to say they wanted to get involved with a charity and do something similar to what we were thinking.
“We were delighted as it was set to be a massive task for us as we are not professional filmmakers or chefs for that matter!”
The Star team are already in touch with the families who will receive the recipe kits – which will be fully allocated for when Star closes on December 22.
Dani added: “We really hope this campaign will encourage resilience and take away the stress and pressure of cooking for families.
“Families we have reached out to have been so thankful and have said it will alleviate so much stress for them at a time when they should be enjoying themselves – and that is exactly what we want to achieve.”
The team at Ikea were thrilled to be brought on board to work with the Star Project.
Ikea Glasgow store manager, Innes Ritchie said: “At Ikea, we take our place in our local communities seriously, working hard to be good neighbours to those whose lives we’re present in.
“This is because in all that we do and wherever we’re present, we want to have a positive impact on people and the planet.
“This year is Ikea’s leap year of sustainability, and as part of this we have set ourselves the goal of inspiring 100 million people around the world to make a step to behave more sustainably.
“And we believe that this goal has never been more relevant than during this particularly strange and difficult year, where so many aspects of everyday life have been affected by the pandemic, impacting our mental and physical wellbeing in ways that we could never have imagined.
“So when we heard about the opportunity to get involved with the Star Project’s Healthy, Wealthy and Wise campaign, we felt this was the perfect opportunity to not only support an amazing initiative that is close to our own hearts.
“But for the Glasgow store and co-workers to build a meaningful connection with people right on our doorstep in Paisley, by sharing some of our experience and knowledge around cooking healthy, simple and affordable meals.”