The Big Juicy Appreciation Society, a Facebook fan group started through a mutual love of Scotland’s favourite pint, Tennent's, has used its army of 33,000 members to pack over 7500 food parcels for families in need this Christmas.
Teaming up with the charity KidsOut, group admins reached out to some of the UKs biggest brands for donations to support the first ever Big Juicy Christmas Appeal.
Some leading brands were quick to respond, with support rolling in from Mackie’s Crisps, Tunnocks, AG Barr, McGhee’s Family Bakers, McVities, Dunn’s Food and Drink, DiMaggios and burger restaurant BRGR.
The Big Juicy team then called on its army of loyal members, with volunteers offering their time to help pack at a socially distant warehouse.
What resulted was 7500 food parcels to be delivered to vulnerable families across Scotland.
As well as members of the Big Juicy who volunteered their time to help pack, a few well-known faces including Still Game’s Greg Hemphill, the cast of Scotland’s football podcast, Open Goal, and former Scottish rugby players Ryan Grant and Ruaridh Jackson came along to say hi to the volunteers, as well as getting hands on with the packing themselves.
Outlander star Caitriona Balfe has also tweeted her support of the campaign.
As well as the food packs, Big Juicy had created a Just Giving page to raise money for KidsOut.
The money raised will help the charity to buy Christmas presents for vulnerable children, helping to ensure no child is left without a gift to open on Christmas morning.
Affectionately known as The Big Juicy Appreciation Society, the group was formed in 2016 after a group of friends who were regulars at Glasgow’s Tiki Bar affectionately started to refer to their favourite tipple, a pint of Tennent’s Lager, as a Big Juicy.
From that moment on, the Big Juicy Appreciation Society was formed. In its four years since inception, the group has amassed almost 35,000 across it’s Facebook and Instagram channels.
The premise of the group has always been to rate pints of Tennent’s at bars across Scotland, as well as discussing and sharing a love for all things Tennent’s Lager.
KidsOut provides positive opportunities and experiences to bring smiles to over 60,000 disadvantaged children every year, helping to enhance their wellbeing and outlook.
Established in 1999, KidsOut has a small team of staff while utilising thousands of volunteers around the UK to achieve their core mission: to bring fun and happiness to those children who need it most.
KidsOut is the only charity working nationally to support children who have survived domestic violence and fled to a women’s refuge, uniquely working with every Women’s Aid Federation refuge in the UK.
Since the start of Covid-19, KidsOut has delivered over 14,000 food vouchers and nearly 6,000 boxes of brand-new toys to children experiencing the pandemic in women’s refuges.
Together with the Big Juicy, KidsOut will be able to provide a positive festive experience for families in refuge when they need it most.
Other businesses who kindly donated their services to the appeal included John Brown Cater Hire who provided packing tables, Arnold Clark provided vans for logistics, Bullet Express kindly offered to help support with bulk deliveries, Glasgow sandwich company Piece fed the volunteers and ExactaPrint printed Christmas cards for the recipients.
Mike McKenzie, co-founder of the Big Juicy Appreciation Society, said: “Big Juicy has been growing at an incredible rate for over four years now, to the point it became so much more than just a place to talk about the best pints of Tennent’s in Scotland.
"2020 has been a bit of a year to forget, so we thought let’s see if we can use our group to do some good this Christmas.
"Through the reach of our Big Juicy group and its members up and down the country, we managed to reach out to some of the biggest brands in the UK.
"To have had such positive feedback, donations and support from McVities, McGhee’s, AG Barr, Mackies, Tunnocks and DiMaggios is incredible.
“To get some friends of Big Juicy such as Greg Hemphill, the Open Goal boys and ex-rugby players Ryan Grant and Ruaridh Jackson on board and giving up their time to support has been outstanding too.
"KidsOut out is an amazing charity doing so much for such a good cause, so to know that our Facebook group we started all those years ago is helping to give thousands of families a smile this Christmas is an honour.”
Gordon Moulds CBE DL, KidsOut Chief Executive, added: “KidsOut is delighted to be partnering with the Big Juicy Christmas Appeal.
"Christmas is tough for families in refuge, with Covid-19 making this year harder than usual. In this time of immense difficulty, it is essential that KidsOut can continue to provide fun and happiness to children and families who need us.
"We really cannot thank the Big Juicy and the organisations who have donated towards this wonderful initiative enough for their ongoing support to our work.
"The food parcels from the Big Juicy and the boxes of brand-new toys provided by KidsOut will go a long way to supporting families in need and aid the development of good mental health.
"Families fleeing from domestic violence to a women’s refuge can often be forgotten, and it is KidsOut’s job to guarantee that they have the best Christmas possible.”
To donate, please visit the Big Juicy Just Giving page.
If members of the public would like to donate a Christmas present for a child in refuge, they are encouraged to do so through KidsOut’s “Giving Tree” campaign here.