Pop-up restaurant backs homelessness charity’s rucksack and handbag appeal

rucksack appealA Glasgow pop-up restaurant has asked its customers to turn up with the intention of deliberately leaving their coats behind to donate to a good cause.

Homelessness charity Simon Community Scotland has launched an appeal urging members of the public to donate rucksacks and handbags stuffed with essential items for people who often have nothing but the clothes they stand in.

And restaurant Section 33 has taken up the cause.

Things like sleeping bags, underwear, toiletries, sanitary products, warm clothing and food that can help people in need during winter and for Christmas.

The big donations day is December 4, where a team of volunteers will be poised to accept donations at a specially-provided warehouse in the south of the city.

And these same volunteers - along with staff and service users - are being treated by Section 33 to a free slap-up meal tonight.

Arguably among the hippest restaurants in Glasgow, Section 33 has made its mark by creating pop-up restaurants in unusual locations, such as derelict buildings and disused churches. Diners are required to book a table long before they know where they are eating.

It is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team, Kyle and J’aime Steel.

Since Wednesday, Section 33 has been operating out of the Britannia Panopticon, recognised as the world’s oldest-surviving music hall. Some of the cash that has been generated is to be help towards the building’s restoration. By the time tonight’s meal comes along, some 1,400 diners will have experienced this latest twist in the Section 33 story.

And the donations to the rucksack and handbag appeal are beginning to mount up.

Speaking about the appeal, Kyle said: “Well, firstly the name, Section 33, refers to a tenancy eviction notice, so you know where out heart lies.

“We set up the business two years ago. As my gran would say to me when I was working, opening restaurants for other people: It’s time you got a proper job, get a trade.

“So, Section 33 was set up partly to help people less fortunate, who might be really struggling.

“And the work of Simon Community Scotland is, frankly, breathtaking.

“This meal tonight we hope is the beginning of a long relationship with Simon Community Scotland. We’ve done food trucks before for homeless people, but this will be hopefully something a bit more magical for those who will be there.

“And yes, since Wednesday, lots of people have been bringing stuff for the appeal. We can’t thank them enough.”

Linda Branter, volunteering manager at Simon Community Scotland, added: “The Simon Community Rucksack and Handbag Appeal is a great opportunity to raise awareness in the community and the kindness of Section 33 is allowing us the chance to do just that.

“We are so excited to have their support for the appeal and look forward to this being the beginnings of a lasting relationship.

“J’aime, Kyle and their team have a real will to help and make a difference which is just amazing.

“It’s a wonderful introduction for our first batch of newly-recruited volunteers and the people we support.

“We are super-keen to make volunteering accessible to lots of folk from all backgrounds and Section 33’s involvement in our appeal is just the beginning of our exciting plans. So, if you fancy helping out, get in touch: we would love to hear from you.”

The donations day, on December 4, is taking place at 24 Rosyth Road, the space donated by Robert Morris, of Morris Furniture. Donations are being collected between 10am and 4pm.

There is an additional venue, near the Simon Community Scotland HQ and open between 12pm and 4pm: The Barn Youth Centre, 37 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals (the space donated by Crossroads Youth & Community Association).

Members of the public are being asked to bring rucksacks and handbags full of the likes of jumpers, sleeping bags, toiletries, books and, of course… coats.

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