Photo of 200 queuing for soup kitchen in snow lays bare problem of homelessness

Volunteers are pleading ‘this has to end’ after more than 200 homeless people were pictured queuing for food in the snow.

Rough sleepers waited in line in sub-zero temperatures to receive food from a soup kitchen in George Square, Glasgow, on Monday night.

Graeme Weir, a volunteer with Kindness Homeless Street Team Glasgow, compared the scene to an Eastern European country ‘decimated by years of communist rule’.

He described his fury at the scene and said ‘we as a civilised and caring nation need to step up’ to fix the problem of homelessness.

Mr Weir, who shared the picture on Facebook, wrote: “This isn’t some Eastern European country that’s been decimated by years of communist rule.

“This is Glasgow city centre last night in the 21st century where people are waiting in line to be fed by Kindness Homeless Street Team Glasgow. This makes me so angry. This has to end.

“I know some personally and most of them are good people who have just hit a ‘wee bump in the road’. We as a civilised and caring nation need to step up.

“Even if all you can give is a little mutual respect, a smile and a hey hello the next time you see a homeless person, trust me it can be enough to turn there life around. Never has been being kind matter so much now.”

Kindness Homeless Street Team say Monday night was “particularly busy” with between 200 and 220 people queuing up – a marked increase from the 70 to 80 people they would provide food to at the start of the pandemic.

Laura McSorley, from Summerston, set up the community group back in 2019 to provide food, clothing, toiletries and emotional support to Glasgow’s homeless and vulnerable people, and says that the numbers on Monday were “mental”.

She told Glasgow Live: “That was on Monday night. We do four nights a week. We do a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

“But Monday was particularly busy and I think just the picture that captures people queueing and obviously the snow and the weather has brought quite a bit of attention to us just now.

“Monday night was particularly busy. We do take a lot of meals through to the guys as obviously we have a night in between where we don’t feed the guys so we do take more meals on a Monday and every day that we are out just to make sure the guys have got more but on Monday particularly we noticed the queue didn’t seem to go down.

“We averaged between 200 and 220 people who we gave food to on that evening.

“As funny as it sounds we give the guys a ticket because there’s a lot of queue jumping, and just to try and get a bit of social distancing as well. So we put out between 200 and 220 tickets on Monday evening which was mental.”

Laura says that there were a lot of new faces in the queue on Monday night, including people who had been in financial comfort before the pandemic hit but had now fallen on hard times – including a family who had lost their home and were now living in a caravan.

“Our numbers at the beginning of the pandemic I would say were roughly between 70 and 80 people and on average, and then we have probably had between 130 to 150 present since.

“But Monday brought loads and loads of new faces, we had a few people that had just been released from prison, we had people that had fled domestic violence. There was a whole host of people in the queue on Monday.

“We had people that had been in nice financial comfort. They had their own business, their own house. We’ve actually had people that came to us and said they had they’ve had their furniture out their house because they’d lost their house and they are now sleeping in a caravan with with limited heating, limited electricity and they are coming to us in the square for food because they don’t have a penny to rub together. So it’s a bit of an eye-opener.”

Kindness Homeless Street Team have provided tens of thousands of meals amid the pandemic thanks to Laura and her army of volunteers.

You can find out more about their work via their Facebook page HERE.

And you can donate to their GoFUndMe page HERE as they seek to raise £60,000 to continue to help the city’s vulnerable and homeless population.