Leading deals and events site, itison, has partnered for the fourth year running with the charitable social business, Social Bite, in a fundraising campaign that will provide those who will be sleeping rough this winter with a hot, festive meal and someplace safe to spend Christmas day.
In just three days since itison launched this year’s festive fundraiser, an astonishing 51,865 meals were donated. This will help feed the homeless not just over Christmas, but well into the New Year. Now, eight days into the campaign, just over 60, 000 deals – and counting – have been sold.
Alice Thompson, Co-Founder & Director of Social Bite told Clyde Outisde: “The itison deal is going spectacularly. More vouchers were bought in a day than we did in the whole of the first year we ran this campaign.”
Josh Littlejohn MBE, co-founder of Social Bite, said in a Facebook Live video at itison HQ last week that he initially approached itison CEO, Oli Norman, back in 2014 with the goal of selling just 800 meals for the homeless at Social Bite on Christmas day.
Thanks to the purchase of a whopping 200,000 meals over the past three years, not a single homeless person has been turned away from a Social Bite café in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen on any day of the year since the deal’s inception.
Josh Littlejohn said: “Each and every donation made on itison is crucial to the work that we do.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has donated and shared with their friends. We really couldn’t do this without you.”
This year’s second donation option, also just £5, will buy homeless children, families and individuals a gift this Christmas.
Social Bite have roughly identified three different present types. Children will receive toys, women will receive sanitary and beauty products, and other vulnerable individuals will receive warm clothing. All will be gift-wrapped and taken out to a range of participating organisations.
In order to smash last year’s total of 75,755 sold vouchers, itison CEO Oli Norman is also urging the public to keep donating and spreading the word.
Oli Norman said: “We’re simply blown away by the generosity of our members and want to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s donated so far.
“Please help us to make sure as many people affected by homelessness as possible have access to a hot meal at Social Bite throughout 2018, and that children and families trapped in this cycle have a gift to open on Christmas Day.”
Liam Gallagher showed his support to the campaign by making a donation and recording a video after his performance at Sleep in the Park, encouraging everyone to get behind the fundraising effort.
Alice Thompson, Co-Founder & Director of Social Bite, said the Sleep in the Park event on December 9th in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens brought home the reality of sleeping rough.
She said: “Having slept out in the freezing cold in solidarity with the homeless, myself and 8000 others have a whole new appreciation for what it means to be homeless at this time of year.”
Social Bite cafes exist not only to provide vulnerable people with warmth and a free fresh meal, but to also create a social environment, a sense of community and a feeling of belonging amongst homeless people.
Co-founder, Josh Littlejohn said in last week’s live stream: “That demographic of people feel extremely marginalised, isolated, ignored, and invisible. People look at through them rather than at them.
“Something you can do is have a chat. Ask them their stories. Learn a bit about them.
“A crucial part of this campaign and this deal is that not only is the provision of free food funded, but it comes with that level of human interaction.”
To donate, simply visit www.itison.com/donate – 100% of each donation goes to Social Bite.
Social Bite’s Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen cafes will be opening their doors to the homeless on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to serve Christmas dinners with all the trimmings, offering food and company at what is one of the loneliest times of the year for many.
A fleet of Social Bite vans will be delivering a number of donated meals and gifts to homeless shelters across Scotland during the week prior to Christmas.
There is still an open call out to any other charity organisations that want to get involved.
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Hannah is Head of Design for our print magazine, The Pattern, and is a student journalist with an interest in writing cultural, social, community and arts features.