Edinburgh Social Bite calls for help to provide hot meals and shelter for homeless people this Christmas
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Social Bite, a Scottish charity that works to tackle homelessness throughout the UK has launched its annual Christmas appeal – urging the kind-hearted residents of Edinburgh to dig deep this festive season.
The charity is calling on generous Scots to donate £5 at www.itison.com/donate to buy more than 100,000 Christmas dinners and gifts for people in need this festive season. Edinburgh residents can also donate Christmas presents and essential items at the charity’s Tree of Kindness in St Andrew Square.
Josh Littlejohn MBE, Co-founder of Social Bite, said: “Your kindness is needed now more than ever. The economic challenges and inflation facing the country this year means that homeless people face a very bleak winter.”
As thousands of people face hardship this winter, charities nationwide are experiencing increased demand for their services, with the ongoing cost of living crisis and continued impact of the pandemic meaning the winter ahead will be one of the toughest on record for many people.
The eight-year partnership between Social Bite and itison has raised an incredible £3 million and seen over 700,000 donations since its 2014 launch, and the charity has emphasised how important the public’s support is to help them reach the tens of thousands of people in food poverty across the UK.
Mr Littlejohn added: “We couldn’t do it without you and would love you to join us in sharing kindness this Christmas, please share it with all your friends and help the people who need it the very most this year.”
This year, Social Bite’s Edinburgh cafe on Rose Street will open its doors to the homeless on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day between 11am and 4pm, serving Christmas dinners with all the trimmings, offering food and company at what is one of the loneliest times of the year for many.
The £5 fundraiser aims to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society can enjoy a hot meal and a gift this festive season. You can also purchase a ‘Christmas of Kindness’ package for £28 which includes a Christmas dinner and gift, a pack of essential items and a bed for the night by visiting the Social Bite website.
‘This year has been exceptionally tough’
Last year, despite the hardship felt by many following the pandemic over 100,000 donations were made and organisers hope locals will continue to support those most in need in this Christmas.
Oli Norman, CEO at itison said: “This year has been exceptionally tough and the most vulnerable in our society have been hit the hardest. More people than ever before are struggling and Christmas for homeless people and families is an especially challenging time.
“Every year we are blown away by the generosity of our members and our hope is to raise enough through our Social Bite campaign to feed homeless people for the entire year.”
In addition to the 100,000 meals and gifts supplied through Social Bite and itison, the organisations will also be donating the first £20,000 raised to the Spirit of Christmas which gives Christmas presents to children living in poverty in Glasgow.
Social Bite has also launched their Festival of Kindness, a campaign spanning five cities where people can donate gifts and essential items with a personalised message either online or in person at the charity’s Christmas tree.
People can choose to buy a gift from the charity’s published wish list and bring their gift to the Edinburgh Tree of Kindness in St Andrew Square. Gifts can include warm gloves, boots and children’s toys. Alternatively you can purchase a gift on the online store. All gifts will be delivered in time for Christmas. A full list can be seen here.
The Festival of Kindness is supported by Essential Edinburgh and locals can make donations at the city centre Christmas tree between 12pm – 4pm Monday to Wednesday and 11am- 7pm Thursday to Sunday.
Chair of Essential Edinburgh, Denzil Skinner, said: “This small act of kindness will make such a difference to some of our most vulnerable citizens. A little kindness goes a long way.”