Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney launched a campaign earlier this week to help feed the homeless in Scotland on Christmas Day. Clooney visited not-for-profit sandwich chain Social Bite in Edinburgh last month, recording a special video message for the campaign. Arriving in a limo at Edinburgh’s Rose Street, the actor stopped traffic as he visited the shop to meet the workers there who used to be homeless. Not only does the chain actively work to hire people who used to be homeless, they also donate all profits to numerous charities and run a ‘suspended’ food and drink programme, in which customers can buy a hot drink or food for a homeless person.
The campaign, backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, calls for a £5 pledge to help pay for a hot meal for homeless people in three Scottish cities. Many other celebrities have been involved in the scheme, including Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy, Scotland manager Gordon Strachan, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, comedian Rob Brydon and broadcaster Chris Evans.
Social Bite co-founder, Josh Littlejohn, explained how last year the public were asked to donate £5 to allow the shop to open on Christmas Day and give local homeless people a place to go for a hot 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,” Littlejohn said.
A web page has now been set up where you can donate to the cause and buy a homeless person Christmas dinner. Contributions also go towards a convoy of Social Bite fans, leaving on Boxing Day, packed with food and winter essentials for refugee camps in Calais, the Serbia/Croatia border, and Lesbos.
Little John explained: “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.”
The outdoor clothing brand Trespass is supporting the cause by agreeing to match each donation with hats, gloves, scarves, coats and tents to help combat the subzero temperatures the refugees will have to endure in the winter months. George Clooney has been hugely beneficial in helping the shop raise awareness of the scheme and Littlejohn hopes that, with Clooney’s help, the chain can surpass last year’s total donations. To find out more about the campaign, visit the Social Bite website or Trespass and you can also find out more on their Facebook and Twitter.