What is emergency food aid?

Emergency food aid is food provided at no or low-cost to people who otherwise struggle to have enough income to feed themselves and their families. This can include:

  • food parcels (usually enough to feed an individual or family for three days)
  • non-perishable foods
  • hot meals (soup kitchens, community cafes, soup vans)


Who provides emergency food aid?

The Trussell Trust is the largest provider in Scotland. However, as the demand for emergency food aid has continued to grow, an increasingly wide range of organisations have become involved in providing food to people in crisis. These include:

  • faith groups
  • community groups
  • voluntary organisations
  •  community food projects
  • housing associations
  • advice services


What is this website for?

This website has been developed as a resource to help support groups and organisations in Scotland which are providing emergency food aid. It follows a research project (Download report here) commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by the Poverty Alliance which looked at the ways in which such groups currently help people to access other services and identified areas where more information and support might improve these connections.

The website is targeted at those groups which perhaps have less experience of working with people who are facing particular hardship, and also at those which are new to navigating the wide range of statutory and voluntary organisations operating at local and national levels. The website is designed to provide an over view of this context. It is not intended as a comprehensive list of all relevant services, but is hoped to be a useful starting point for appropriate signposting and identifying potential sources of support for people accessing emergency food aid services. There are also links here to case studies, good practice guidance and information on relevant research, reports, and wider anti-poverty work and campaigning.

The aim of this resource is to help better equip emergency food aid providers with the information needed to make connections with mainstream services, as well as with broader movements focused on tackling the underlying drivers of food poverty. Emergency food aid must not become an established part of the welfare system. The ultimate objective is to help reverse the growth in such services reduce the number of people who are forced to turn to them in order to eat.