A Dundee community has hit out after food donations from a vital “give and take” box were thrown around a church garden.
The community food box outside Chalmers Ardler Parish Church on Turnberry Avenue has operated for a fortnight, but over the past week vandals have taken packets of pasta and rice and ripped out the contents, spilling it on the ground.
Rev Jonathan Humphrey has now been forced to ask people not to donate food which can easily be ripped open.
He said: “It is a silly minority of people who have just fancied playing around with the food and making a mess.
“It is disappointing because the box is there for the whole community to use.
“I don’t think anyone has been malicious but we want to feed people, not the lawns.
“Generally speaking the vast majority of people understand the situation families are finding themselves in at the moment, and it is only a small number who want to make a mess rather than support what we are trying to do here.”
He continued: “We have had lots of people coming in to tell us they have been on furlough or are losing their jobs, and the food provision has been a lifeline for them.
“This is a vital service.
“But now we are having to think of ways to check up on the box and considering locking it up overnight, but that requires volunteers and we want to keep this facility open.
“I would ask people now to donate tins rather than dried goods like pasta and rice because they can’t be vandalised so easily.
“We are hoping when the kids go back to school next week the vandalism might wear off, but we have no idea who is doing this.
“I hope the novelty of it will wear off and it can be used for what it was meant for.”
Meanwhile one local resident, who did not want to be named, has been donating food to the community box at the church but now doesn’t know if her donations are getting to those who need it.
Speaking to the Tele, she said: “It is terrible, the food is meant to be helping people.
“But now it is all getting smashed up, kids are going in, taking the food out and throwing it all about the place.
“We just put food in it the other day, it is so frustrating this has happened.
“I’m now wondering what will happen if I put food in it again, will it just end up all over the grass?
“Some people just don’t seem to care.
“It is obviously children and they are getting out of control, the parents are just saying ‘out you go’.
“The church is now asking for people to donate tins with no pull ring instead of jars and packets now, but things people really need like pasta are in packets like that.”