By Press Office

BaxterStorey, the catering services partner at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has been hard at work supporting multiple efforts on campus and in the local East Lothian community during the pandemic. 

Julie Smith, BaxterStorey General Manager at QMU and her team have been working tirelessly over the last few months to support various charities and community groups during these challenging times.

On campus 

Since the University went into lockdown back in March, the team have been operating an ever-growing pop-up shop and takeaway from Maggie's Bar and Café, located within the University's Students' Union, which has kept students living on campus, as well as those in the surrounding area, stocked up with essential household items. 

Julie and her team also joined forces with Queen Margaret University Students' Union (QMUSU), ResLife and the University's UCU branch to put together 110 wellbeing packs for students living in University accommodation. These included food essentials, toilet paper and a handwritten postcard and provided a much-needed boost to spirits of those still living in University accommodation. 

Supporting the local community 

Outwith the University community, the BaxterStorey team and QMU have been supporting Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts - a registered social enterprise with volunteer chefs in Edinburgh who produce day packs of three hot meals and five portions of fruit and veg for vulnerable groups and anyone in need of the additional support. Julie and her team got involved by cooking over 1000 portions of vegetable soup and packaging them to be distributed as part of the day packs. QMU donated the ingredients to make the soups, and they continue to support the organisation wherever they can. 

In light of the cost and availability of sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE), the team have also donated PPE to Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts to ensure that they can safely continue the excellent work they are doing. 

Davie Beattie, one of the BaxterStorey chefs at QMU, has been helping to cover shifts in the kitchen at the Carberry Residential Home in Musselburgh. Davie's support has been invaluable at this time due to some of the home's kitchen staff being in the shielding group or having to self-isolate. In addition to this, Julie ensured that a donation of rhubarb received from a local resident was transformed into a delicious crumble for the home's residents along with fresh baked scones and treats. 

Julie has also been looking at providing access to BaxterStorey's various suppliers to Resilient Musselburgh, a community organisation offering support to those who require immediate or urgent assistance in acquiring essential provisions or vital information where there are no other available means available. 

Julie Smith said: "I feel incredibly privileged to have such a committed and passionate team and to have been afforded the opportunity to support the local community. Nothing I have asked of the team has been too much, and their willingness to adapt and go above and beyond has amazed me day after day. Thank you so much to my incredible team and QMU - without them none of this would have been possible." 

Sarah Whigham, Acting Head of Commercial Services at QMU, said: "I'm so proud of everything that Julie and the BaxterStorey team have done to help the local community in these challenging times. Great work team!"

Notes to Editor

Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts was founded by Lewis McLachlan, a professional chef and MSc Gastronomy student at QMU. Lewis is supported by a large team of volunteers, including several QMU students, backpackers from around the world, and professional chefs from across Edinburgh and the Lothians. 

For further media enquiries, please contact Gavin McNee (Media Relations and Content Officer) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: gmcnee@qmu.ac.uk, T: 0131 474 0000.

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