Last week, Sunderland foodbank launched a partnership with the Red and White Army (RAWA), independent fan club on Sunderland AFC. The foodbank will be collecting regularly at home games in conjunction with RAWA, as well as the Foundation of Light, County Durham foodbank – Sunderland’s sister foodbank – and the SAFC club.
At Saturday’s match with Fleetwood Town, a collection point next to the Fanzone became a hive of activity as Sunderland fans turned up in their droves to donate bags of food and toiletries.
Volunteers from RAWA and the Sunderland Foodbank network were joined by SAFC’s under-23 and under-18 squads. It proved something of a workout for them as they helped load over one tonne of food onto the foodbank’s transit van. Players stood side-by-side with supporters to generate much needed cash donations too.
Sunderland Foodbank co-ordinator Kate Townsend said “We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of Sunderland supporters. Since we partnered with RAWA we’ve received over a tonne of food and 1,800 in cash donations. Crucially, it’s helped to raise awareness within the football community about the sad reality that results in the need
for foodbanks in the first place”.
SAFC’s Academy Manager Paul Reid was keen for the young players to get involved “‘A key part of our development strategy is educating the players about the realities of the community they represent. Young players can be caught in a bubble where all they see is the Academy and a team of staff supporting them, that’s not the real world. We want to instil some humility. This isn’t thinking less of themselves, it’s about thinking of themselves less. Helping with the foodbank project is a win, win. It educates the players and hopefully adds value to the initiative. The goal is to create well rounded players who appreciate the position they’re in and use that elevated status to help others. The Players and Coaches have really taken this onboard and will continue to be involved in local community schemes.’”
Chairman of RAWA Andrew Hird thinks Saturday’s success will lead to more collections “I know from speaking to Kate that this will just be the start. We’re already talking about showing some of the Sunderland players and supporters how the whole foodbank operation works in order to raise awareness, and we’ll be sitting down with the foodbanks with a view to arranging another collection soon’.
Adapated article from Sunderland Echo: https://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/super-sunderland-afc-fans-raise-1-800-and-over-a-tonne-of-food-in-stadium-of-light-matchday-collection-1-9346334
Read further coverage here:
Red & White Army website: http://redandwhitearmy.co.uk/news/
Foundation of Light: https://www.foundationoflight.co.uk/news/foundation-supports-fan-organised-foodbank/