Social Bite’s homeless Christmas appeal success

Social Bite in Rose Street has been busy. Pic: Toby Williams
Social Bite in Rose Street has been busy. Pic: Toby Williams
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EDINBURGH’S homeless were given a taste of the festive season as charities and restaurants came together to serve Christmas dinners to hundreds of people who would otherwise miss out.

Sandwich shop Social Bite, which had a massive response to its appeal for people to buy a Christmas dinner for the homeless, said it had served “a couple of hundred” meals yesterday.

But the success of its Christmas dinner appeal means it will be able to help feed homeless people into next year.

Social Bite, which also operates in Glasgow, sells breakfasts and lunches while supporting the local homeless community.

The not-for-profit enterprise had hoped to raise enough money to pay for 800 plates of turkey over Christmas by asking for £5 donations, but received enough for more than 36,000 dinners.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was said to be among the thousands who helped smash the target. Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn, who set up the business two years ago with Alice Thompson, said the response to the appeal had taken everyone by surprise.

He said: “We didn’t think it would be the success it has been. It’s been great.

“We served soup, a roast and a chocolate brownie dessert.”

One of those enjoying the Christmas dinner, a 49-year-old former nurse called Mark, said it had been a lifeline on what would normally be his loneliest day of the year.

He said: “Christmas is a difficult time of the year for me. I’ve no family and I’ve no money, so when I heard about this I plucked up the courage to go along. I was a bit nervous, but I’m glad I came.

“It’s been great fun. A full Christmas dinner with soup, turkey or roast beef and all the extras plus chocolate brownies for pudding.

“It’s great to get a hot meal and a present too. It’s so nice the public donated money so it could happen.”

Meanwhile, city restaurant Steak Edinburgh served up around 200 meals to people from homeless charities on Christmas Eve.

Local suppliers provided the restaurant with the food

and drink free of charge, including turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding.

Head chef Jason wright put the three-course meal together and the Lord and Lady Provost turned up to help serve.

The charities involved included 6VT, Bethany Christian Trust, the Cyrenians and the Trussell Trust, which all invited a range of adults, families and children to enjoy the Christmas lunch.

And in Penicuik, Indian restaurant Babu-G was handing out free festive takeaways to the homeless and disadvantaged.

The restauant in John Street offered the first 100 people to turn up a takeaway three-course meal consisting of lentil soup, roast turkey with all the trimmings, mince pies and a soft drink.

Owner Sameed Ibrahim said: “This is something that’s close to my heart, to want to help those in need.”