BY Ryan McDougall | March 8 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


SCIAF’s wee box lent appeal is flipping the script on poverty

Celebrity chef Gary Maclean was the face of the charity’s 2019 appeal launch.

SCIAF launched this year’s Wee Box Lenten appeal with the help of celebrity chef Gary Maclean on Shrove Tuesday.

Mr Maclean rose to fame in 2016 after being crowned the MasterChef Professionals champion in 2016 and he has now turned his culinary skills to SCIAF’s campaign to help the people of Uganda.

The launch was held on March 5 at the City of Glasgow College, where Mr Maclean is a senior lecturer.

12 pupils from Holyrood Secondary School joined SCIAF and Mr Maclean for a masterclass in pancake making to kick off the Wee Box celebrations.

Mr Maclean said: “SCIAF is a really well-known charity in Scotland and I think everybody remembers the Wee Box campaign as it’s quite unique.

“I think for me it’s all about where the money goes—it’s little kids who are getting an education and they’re getting food. That ticks every box for me.

“I don’t think there should be any kid in the world that goes to bed at night hungry and unfortunately it’s happening all over the place. We should do as much as we can to try and help these people who need it most.”


Celebrity backing

SCIAF’s Wee Box appeal runs each Lent and in 2018 brought in £3.2 million.

At this year’s Wee Box launch, as the Holyrood pupils tossed their freshly made pancakes into the air to the sound of camera clicks, SCIAF director Alistair Dutton said it was ‘great’ to have the support of someone like celebrity chef Gary Maclean who is ‘interested, knows and loves SCIAF, and is willing to help us launch the Wee Box.’

Mr Dutton said that having a ‘TV celebrity’ back the campaign gets people interested in SCIAF’s work.

“He wants to make SCIAF a part of his story,” he said.

“It gets so many more people interested. They hear his name and they think, ‘SCIAF, I must remember this year,’ so it’s really helpful.”


Helping families

This year’s appeal funds will go towards women like Ugandan single mother Lydia and her five children, who had to fend for herself after her parents died when she was young.

She received tools, seeds and training from SCIAF, meaning she can now provide for her children and has been able to set-up her own business.

“I feel great now,” Lydia said. “I am living a happy life. My children are in school and I have enough food. My life has changed a lot.

“Before we had no hope, but now I have seen a great light in the future. I am very happy.”

Holyrood Secondary’s headteacher Sharon Watson said her pupils ‘absolutely loved’ baking with Mr Maclean, and are looking forward to fundraising for the Wee Box appeal.

“They were looking for any opportunity to come and raise the profile of SCIAF,” she said.

“We had someone in last week raising their profile at the assemblies for our young people, and there is a group of them who were really excited about coming, so it’s been great fun and a great day out for all of them.”

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