Advent Day 8: Dundee church reaching out to those in need this Christmas

A church in Dundee will continue to reach out to those most in need this Christmas and New Year by providing food along with vital social contact.

Visitors at the Making Dundee Home project at Dundee West Church
Visitors at the Making Dundee Home project at Dundee West Church.

Ordinarily Dundee West hosts weekly meals for those who may have issues around addictions, poor mental health or be reliant on benefits, but the service has had to adapt since March.

Instead, during the pandemic staff and volunteers at the project which is known as Making Dundee Home, have worked hard to provide 90 - 120 people with weekly food bags whilst also ensuring those using their services are kept safe.

The hall is open every Wednesday and Friday from 10.00am to 12.30pm, which means they will open on December 25 and January 1 as usual.

The church is collecting toiletries and pairs of socks, which will then be given out in gift bags on Christmas day.

Since 2018 Dundee West has normally hosted a Christmas lunch to help combat isolation so it's fitting that with additional measures in place they will still be able to reach out to the community.

Artwork created by those attending Making Dundee Home

It's not just food that's provided each week - people can drop in to collect DVDs and even craft packs to alleviate what has been a particularly difficult time for many.

Speaking about the scheme, community development worker Gordon Sharp explained that the services offered by the church support their regulars in a number of different ways.

"Our aim is to draw on creativity, hospitality and spirituality to promote social and environmental justice and human well-being," he said.

A visitor using the services at Dundee West

"We aim to book people in, if possible, so that we can manage numbers inside with the necessary physical distancing as they wait to select items from our kitchen - like an old fashioned corner shop.

"This gives us the opportunity to catch up with people, refer them on to other services or to assist where we can.

"We are supported by staff from the Cairn Centre (drug recovery) and the Keep Well NHS team who will assist with all health related matters including those related to benefits.

"We usually provide food to between 90 - 120 people per week and are currently being supported by the Taybridge Head food bank in Wormit due to the level of demand on ourselves.

"Recently we've had three guys provide us with creative work that they've been doing - this has included computer generated abstract art and pencil drawings of a high standard.

"Others are just pleased to get a phone call, but we've also seen some begin their recovery from addiction, even during the pandemic.

"This is an example of how relationships of mutual trust have grown as we've walked this pandemic together.

"The families and women who have become part of our community over this time like our set up as they feel safe and everyone needs to feel understood - this is the deepest human longing and we hope for this mutual understanding in the Making Dundee Home community."

Get involved

Donate to Dundee West Church

The café is open to the public and features freshly cooked food, a warm welcome and adheres to all current safety measures. You can also drop off items for donation here Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm.

Find out more about Making Dundee Home

Sign up for this year's calendar

Bright Hope For Tomorrow is the theme of the Church of Scotland's 2020 Advent calendar.

We invite you to sign up for a daily email or check our online Advent calendar for some daily inspiration.

Throughout the season, we'll bring you stories that highlight how church members around the country are celebrating the birth of Jesus and sharing their faith, hope and love with everyone in their communities.

Follow along with this year's Bright Hope For Tomorrow Advent calendar.