FANS HOST DRIVE THROUGH FOODBANK AT STADIUM OF LIGHT
Sunderland AFC supporters’ group, Red and White Army, has teamed up the Black Cats’ official charity, Foundation of Light, to create a very special foodbank collection at the Stadium of Light on Monday 21 December 2020. With food poverty on the rise across the region, fans from across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham are coming together to organise to a drive through foodbank in the Stadium’s car park, with all donations being collected on behalf of the Salvation Army and Sunderland Foodbank. From 9am on Monday 21s December, Sunderland AFC fans and local businesses will be encouraged to drop-off tinned food supplies, Christmas food - such as selection boxes and biscuits - and toiletries to the Red Car Park in a specially designed drive-through system. Using the layout of Stadium Park, cars will arrive via Vaux Brewery Way (driving past the Aquatic Centre) before pulling up to specially designated drop-off bays. Once parked, volunteers will collect donations, without the member of the public getting out of the car. Cars will then exit the site via Millennium Way (heading towards Sheepfolds and City Centre). Supporters and local businesses are being encouraged to get involved by collecting from friends and neighbours, or organising a collection from staff. Andrew Hird, Chair of the Red and White Army, explains “COVID-19 has had a huge impact on all our lives. But for so many, food poverty is now a stark reality. With Christmas just around the corner, no one should be in a position where they can’t afford to provide for their family. “As a fan base we are really passionate about supporting our communities and trying to tackle food poverty. Over the last couple of years, we have collected nearly three tonnes of food on match days for local foodbanks. “With no matches in the Stadium, we still want to play our part and help. So, we are encouraging fans to give what they can. Why not add an extra tin or selection box onto your Christmas shop and drop it off at the Stadium? “We’d also love to see local businesses getting involved, where staff could possibly organise a collection. Big or small donations – they all make a difference.” Jamie Wright, Managing Director of the Foundation of Light said, “We are really pleased to be working alongside the Red and White Army to make this very special foodbank collection happen. The Salvation Army has played a critical part in our Tackling Loneliness Together programme, which has seen us distribute hundreds of care packages to socially isolated older people across Sunderland during the COVID-19 crisis. “We have also been working closely with other partners to ensure that children don’t miss out on meals during the school holidays, supporting hundreds of children across County Durham with food parcels earlier this year. “Christmas is the time for giving and with so many in need sometimes it is hard to know what to do or how to help. But a donation, of any size, to the Drive Through Foodbank will help us provide families across the region with the food and supplies they need this Christmas.” Organisers are anticipating that the drive-through foodbank will be popular and is encouraging anyone who wants to support to register for a timeslot via Eventbrite. This will allow organisers to manage traffic flow and ensure that the collection follows strict health and safety procedures. The health and wellbeing of volunteers and the public is paramount. A full risk assessment has taken place and all volunteers will be provided with masks, gloves and hand sanitiser. Strict social distancing guidelines will also be in place. To register a slot at the Drive Through Foodbank, click here. If you would like to volunteer to help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest. If you are unable to attend the Drive Through Foodbank but would like to show your support, donations can be made online with all proceeds being split between Sunderland Foodbank, Salvation Army and Foundation of Light.