A new mum and dad have gone above and beyond for people in need with a food delivery service which has helped hundreds of families in Tayside.
Gary Rooney and his fiancée, Alana Gow, have provided 218 families across Dundee, Perth and Angus with much-needed supplies this winter, all while looking after a 23-week-old baby.
The couple have set up an anonymous text line, where those in need of support can reach out without others having to know.
Gary, who also runs a vehicle recovery business, said: “The dedicated text number lets people just leave their address, they don’t have to give any more information than that.
“It allows people to keep this all very discreet, we just leave the food on their doorstep, ring the bell and leave.
“We know that it can be really embarrassing to ask for something like this, especially when you wouldn’t usually be doing it, so this way people can receive the help they need without having to go to a food bank.
“While a lot of people do just prefer us to leave stuff at the door, some do like to come out for a little chat and show their gratitude.
“It’s nice to have that because we both work full-time and we have our baby, so obviously doing this is taking up a lot of our free time at the moment.
“We’ve had great support from a lot of local shops and businesses, as well as the Dundee Morrison’s, they gave us two big pallets of pasta and condensed milk and other things like that.
“They also gave us one of their food bank bins which was amazing.
“If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have been able to help as many people.”
Service extremely popular
The pair have also received support from friends, relatives and members of the public who have all donated food.
The popularity of their service has come as a shock to the pair, with the 36-year-old claiming the demand has far outstripped their initial estimates.
“We’ve served 218 so far and we have six or seven more booked in for the next week,” he added.
“At first we thought we’d maybe be doing two or three deliveries a week, but I think that in our busiest week we had 38 different families.
“Everyone is having problems with this Covid-19 stuff, like I said we’ve had a lot of people using the service and lots of them aren’t your stereotypical food bank users.”
‘A lot of sleepless nights’
Gary said that while they are happy to help, it is “extremely concerning” that so many people are in need in this day and age.
He added: “We’ve had a lot of sleepless nights thinking about some of the families we work with and if we could be doing more to help them. There’s definitely a problem out there.
“This has sort of been a massive eye-opener for us on how badly this year has hit people, especially families.”
“If we’re still in a similar situation next year then we’ll definitely do the same thing, if it’s required then we’re happy to do it.
“It’s really good to give back and help out.
“As a business owner I feel like I owe everything I have to Dundee, so being able to help people here when things get tough makes sense.”