Activism

Glasgow food queue: ‘If I didn’t come here I’d have nothing’ 

Lisa Currie is one of the people forced to queue for food in sub-zero temperatures in the heart of Glasgow. She tells The Big Issue why she relies on the help of the Kindness Homeless Street team

Food and hot drinks laid out by the Kindness Homeless Street Team in Glasgow. Credit: Kindness Homeless Street Team

A woman who was part of the snowy Glasgow food queue that has shocked social media has told The Big Issue she would “be stuck in the flat with nothing” without the essential support.

A viral photo of 200 people braving snow and sub-zero temperatures to queue for food in Glasgow’s George Square on Monday has incited fury on social media and from politicians.

But the image from community group Kindness Homeless Street Team is no one-off. The group runs the soup kitchen four times a week and they were back out on Wednesday night serving another 100 people.

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Lisa Currie, 37, has been relying on the group for support since she came out of rehabilitation for alcohol issues in September. She told The Big Issue she had little alternative but to brave the cold.

“The cold on Monday was terrible but the guys were out and stocked everything up for everybody,” she said. “They made sure that every single person here was fed and kept safe, warm and had a warm drink, warm soups and a warm meal.

“I do think that people like me shouldn’t have to come out in the cold and queue to be fed, especially in the current circumstances and all the things I have previously been through but if I didn’t have here to come to I would be stuck in a flat with nothing.”

Lisa Currie Glasgow food queue
Lisa Currie Kindness Homeless Street Team Glasgow
Lisa Currie braved the snow for food and mental health support in the centre of Glasgow from the Kindness Homeless Street Team. Credit: Kindness Homeless Street Team

The UK’s food poverty rate is among the highest in Europe. Food campaigners Sustain estimate that 8.4 million people across the country live in food poverty and in 2019-20 a record two million people used a food bank, according to the Trussell Trust.

Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar praised the charity and told The Big Issue “we have shameful levels of poverty in Glasgow and a homelessness crisis that requires urgent action.”

“At least when I come here I go away with a couple of meals to take away so you’re not left without anything in the days they are not here,” continued Lisa. 

“Personally I don’t think Kindness Homeless should have to come out to do this but they are the only people who help and support us. There is no one else who does anything like this on this scale.”

Lisa told The Big Issue the charity had not only kept her fed throughout the winter but had also helped her furnish her flat so her son could move back. They even helped her buy Christmas presents for him.

Lisa did not queue in the snow just for food, but for mental health support during lockdown too. And she insisted she had little choice elsewhere.

“The support has been absolutely amazing and it’s not just the food,” said Lisa.

“They’ve played a big part in my recovery and without them I don’t know where I would be with my mental health because I would have to be stuck in my flat with nothing.

“They have actually gone above and beyond and have done more than I could imagine anyone could do for me. “I can’t overemphasise how much this team has helped and supported me. It really means a lot to me.”

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