A PANDEMIC community kitchen will tomorrow begin packing 800 festive feasts for people living on the margins this Christmas.

Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts was established in April 2020, one month after lockdown began and has since served up more than 1.3 million free meals to vulnerable people.

Based in Edinburgh, it's been working from Leith Theatre for the past 18 months but moved into a new permanent premises in Granton earlier this month.

However, as renovations to the former youth centre aren't quite finished, its chefs will prepare and cook the Christmas dinners at Loretto School in Musselburgh for delivery on Christmas Eve and the 25th.

Operations manager Dylan Childs says the turkey dishes will be a "lifeline to so many families": "Not only will we be feeding hundreds of Edinburgh residents on Christmas Day, but we’ll also be saving a huge amount of food from landfill, which is central to the values of our organisation."

The Edinburgh Poverty Commission says 27% of people are living in poverty in parts of the city.

The National:

Demand for food banks has risen over the last five years and Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts is trying to raise £40,000 to continue its work.

It's just over £5000 short and every penny will take them closer to the target.

Childs said: "We provide and deliver around 5,000 free meals each week free of charge to vulnerable residents, and unfortunately we anticipate demand will climb with food and fuel prices rising, and some of the population may be forced to choose between heating their homes or providing meals for their families.”

To donate, visit the crowdfunding page here.