Image of hundreds of homeless people queuing in snow at Glasgow soup kitchen compared to former 'communist' countries
THE sight of hundreds of people standing waiting in heavy snowfall at a Glasgow soup kitchen has been compared to 'decimated' former communist countries.
The large queue in freezing conditions at the city's George Square on Monday evening prompted an outcry from homeless charity Kindness about the need for more help for the city's most vulnerable.
Around 220 people visited a pop up soup kitchen to receive a hot meal and food packages.
Kindness Homeless Street Team Glasgow has been providing for the city's most vulnerable throughout the pandemic.
The soup kitchen is open four nights a week and usually attracts 130 to 150 people, but got swamped on Monday as Storm Darcy dumped heavy snow across central Scotland.
And one volunteer took to social media to compare the scene to an eastern European state "decimated by years of communist rule".
They added: "This is Glasgow City Center last night in the 21st Century where people are waiting in line to be fed by Kindness Homeless Street Team Glasgow….this makes me so angry…this has to end."
As well as those sleeping rough, people who rely on the regular soup kitchen include those escaping domestic abuse, people living in destitution and those who have lost their jobs or homes – or both – due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The charity's founder Laura McSorley, 37, said: "Monday was a particularly busy evening and fed 200 to 220 people.
"The queue didn't stop. We were like 'where are all these people coming from'.
"Not all of them are homeless. Some are facing financial hardship and struggling.
"People we're helping include those fleeing domestic abuse, those who have lost their jobs and houses through the pandemic and people homeless after breakdowns of relationships.
"It's really sad that in this day and age people need to queue to get food.
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"We've got a few people in the position of going days or weeks without having heating on because they can't afford it – some people are facing really hard times."
Laura acknowledged that since the start of the pandemic many homeless people have been given accommodation in hostels and hotels.
However she believes more needs to be done to support people once they get permanent or temporary housing – such as help with sourcing furniture.
She said: "A lot of people have been put up in hotels and hostels since the pandemic started, but budgeting money and getting ongoing support is hard.
"We need to help these people get back into society. We'd like to see more support and resources for these guys."
The charity, set up in December 2019, is made up of 25 volunteers.
Kindness is purely funded through fundraising campaigns and donations from the public.
Laura said: "We've been doing it since the beginning of the pandemic. We're all volunteers and have day jobs.
"Some people are homeless or staying in caravans with no heating or electricity and come to George Square to get some food.
"We have 22 chefs and some restaurants make up food for us. We have non-perishable items or food that's just past it's sell-by date to make sure these people are fed and watered.
"We also provide clothes and footwear. We normally cater for 130 to 150, but we take more food to make sure we're covered.
"We have 25 volunteers, with a street team and volunteers in the soup kitchen and at the sanitising station.
"We're not funded by government. It's the people of Glasgow who fund it – it's amazing."
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