George Clooney launches video campaign to feed Scotland’s homeless on Christmas day
Social Bite, the not-for-profit Scottish sandwich shop chain which George Clooney visited last month, has launched a new fundraising campaign to feed thousands of homeless people on Christmas Day and throughout 2016 – with the help of the Hollywood icon and a host of other big-name backers.
During his visit to Social Bite in Edinburgh last month, Clooney recorded a video message on a staff member’s iPhone pledging the first £5 and encouraging others to do the same.
Social Bite today released the video alongside a message of support from Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, with other high profile pledges coming from Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, comedian Rob Brydon, broadcaster Chris Evans, and Scotland football manager Gordon Strachan.
Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite’s co-founder, said: “Last year we asked the public to pay £5 to allow us to open on Christmas day and give local homeless people a place to go for a good meal. Our target was to provide 800 meals. We were amazed by the response and received over 36,000 donations from all over the world meaning we not only fed folk at Christmas, we were able to feed them all year round in all five of our shops.
“When George visited our shop last month, we asked him to make the first donation and with such a global star on film supporting us we’re hoping we can smash last year’s total and help even more people.”
A page has been set up on deals and events website itison.com where people can pay £5 to buy a homeless person Christmas dinner, and/or contribute towards a convoy of Social Bite vans which is leaving on 26 December with food and winter essentials to refugee camps in Calais, the Serbia/Croatia border, and Lesbos.
The deal with Trespass saw the outdoor retailer donate winter essentials such as hats, gloves and scarves with every £5 given to the campaign.
Josh Littlejohn added: “We still have unacceptable levels of homelessness and poverty here on our doorstep and we’re grateful for the public’s support in helping us to do our bit, but we can’t forget the horrendous conditions faced by millions of innocent men, women and children feeling conflict.
“We’re aware that the refugee crisis is a highly politicised issue and we’re well aware that our small chain of sandwich shops can’t make a huge dent in a continent-wide crisis – but doing nothing isn’t an option. It’s freezing there. Families are desperate for help and people will die from the cold this winter.
“Our trip is about reaching out a hand of compassion, and letting them know Scotland cares. We don’t know how many vans we’ll fill but we’ll take as many as we can with the donations we get.
“We’ve had amazing support from the outdoor clothing brand Trespass who have agreed to match each donation we receive with hats, gloves, coats and tents to help combat the subzero temperatures the refugees will have to endure in the winter months.”
Oli Norman, founder and MD of itison, added: “Last year, we were blown away by the generosity of each and every member who donated to Social Bite, helping us to raise over £180,000 for those in need. We’re incredibly proud to have such awesome members and we want to ask them to do the same this year to ensure Social Bite can help as many people as possible.”