Airdrie foodbank was placed in the spotlight as the local charity received a stardust-showered donation – from actor Hugh Grant.
Volunteers took delivery of a consignment of food and toiletries donated by the star as part of the current #foodbankchallenge, which asks people to show support for organizations across the country by purchasing items to donate and posting a photo on social media with a foodbank name.
They were originally aware only that the donor behind the online order, which arrived on Friday, was a “Mr. Grant”; but then learned more about their celebrity supporter.
Foodbank manager David Findlay told the Advertiser: “We’d had an email the day before to say there was an online order on behalf of someone, and when the donation arrived they’d said Mr. Grant was more than happy to help – and it unfolded from there.
“It became apparent through emails with the food bank challenge organizer that Hugh Grant was behind it. He’s quite a supporter of food banks; it’s something he has strong feelings about and was trying to raise awareness.
“The challenge running online works like the ice bucket challenge, where people nominate each other in turn to make a donation, either financial or food – it so happened we’d put out an appeal for donations last week, and it just seems to have got noticed.
“On top of the usual necessities, the donation also included toiletries and items like nappies and baby food.
“We’re absolutely delighted – we were quite surprised that somebody of Hugh Grant’s standing made a donation to us and we’re fortunate we were the beneficiaries, and hope it raises awareness and spurs people to donate more.”
The online donation challenge was originated by Highland-based blogger Alex, who also posted details of Airdrie’s special donator on his blog, Life of a Universal Credit Sufferer.
He wrote: “The Trussell Trust #foodbankchallenge got a huge boost, thanks again to Hugh Grant. Yesterday Airdrie foodbank received an Asda delivery, which I had arranged with help from Hugh.”
Foodbank volunteers posted on Facebook: “This act of kindness fairly cheered us all up; thank you Mr. Grant”; and added: “PS – we’d be grateful if you’d deliver it personally next time!”
The local organization’s latest appeal for donations came as demand for its services has more than doubled in the past 12 months; and at a time of year when the rate of donations can reduce.
David added: “We tend to find that things dry up at this time as people go on holiday and schools stop; we often struggle during the summer period.
“Around the festivals such as Easter and harvest, there are often lots of donations and churches and schools get really involved, and people are very generous at Christmas, but this middle period of the year can be a difficult time.
“The demand is up 103 per cent per year-on-year and we can be living week to week, hoping we’ll get enough donations to do the following week.”
Airdrie foodbank is particularly in need of tinned meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, pasta sauce, cereal, tea and coffee, which can be handed in at their collection points around the town; for details, visit https://airdrie.foodbank.org.uk/.