Here at FoodFacts.com, we spend a lot of time talking about our food supply. We’re proud of the work we do and the role we play in educating consumers about what’s really in their food. At the holidays, though, we are reminded that not every person in the world enjoys the luxury of HAVING food to understand. Hunger is a huge problem across the globe … in first-world countries, as well as third. We think this effort by Social Bite is a tremendous reminder — not to mention an incredible cause — of just that. Our thoughts turn today to feeding the hungry for Christmas.
Scottish social enterprise Social Bite’s crowdfunded Christmas meal scheme has had a high-profile first backer in the form of Hollywood star George Clooney.
A video promoting the company’s Christmas appeal includes a clip of Clooney putting in the first fiver when he visited their Edinburgh premises in November this year.
In the clip actor and activist Clooney said: “I’m giving £5 to pay it forward at Social Bite. I hope you do too.”
The innovative scheme allows people to purchase hot drinks and meals for people who are homeless, and last year the Christmas dinner appeal was a runaway success. Social Bite had hoped to sell 800 dinners in order to provide meals on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Collecting donations via Itison.com, they received money for 36,000 dinners, meaning meals could be available every single day of the year.
Social Bite, which has shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh, subsequently opened premises in Aberdeen and hired more staff, a quarter of whom were homeless themselves.
This year’s Christmas appeal is two-fold: as well as buying meals for the homeless in Scotland, people can also help refugees in Europe.
On Boxing Day the team will set off in a convoy of vans, heading for camps at Calais, Lesbos and the Croatia/Serbia border. They’ll distribute £5 food packs and warm clothing donated by outdoor clothing company Trespass.
“It’s about reaching out the hand of compassion, saying ‘We’re with you, not against you’ “, said Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn. “We’re asking people to join us this Christmas – to help the homeless on their own doorstep, and help refugees further afield.”
Other drives to help refugees in Scotland include charity Positive Action in Housing’s appeal to collect donations for destitute asylum-seekers currently living in Scotland.
Donations can be made to fund PAIH’s crisis grant scheme, and a list of urgently-needed food and toiletry items is available at Postive Action in Housing, where people can also sign up to the ‘Room for Refugees’ scheme to offer a spare room to a destitute individual or family.
This holiday season while we’re preparing to gather around our tables with our families, let’s all spend some time remembering those for whom there will be no feast. Charities are a wonderful way to express our gratitude for what we are blessed to have. As we look ahead to the new year, we here at FoodFacts.com look forward to another year of educating our community and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Today, though, our thoughts — and our charity — are with the hungry.