Tonnes of food donated at drive-thru foodbank set up outside Sunderland' AFCs Stadium of Light

The Christmas spirit of Sunderland shone through as thousands of items were gifted to ensure those in need will not go hungry this festive time.

Monday, 21st December 2020, 6:30 pm
Updated Monday, 21st December 2020, 6:30 pm

The team were stunned with the generosity of Mackems, as an estimated four tonnes of essential food items, treats, toiletries and toys were handed over to be sent out by the Salvation Army and Sunderland Foodbank.

It helped fill three vans and a shipping container ready for redistrubution.

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Sophie Ashcroft, head of marketing and communications at the Foundation, was among those to help gather the donations, with her 12-year-old stepson Jacob among those to help out.

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She said: “It went really well and we had a steady stream of people coming through, donating enough to fill four vans.

"The response to it has been fantastic and we had a couple of people bringing in toys, which will go on to the Salvation Army to pass on, and it has been a really worthwhile event today.

Front, left to right, Andrew Hird of Red and White Army, Jacob Brady (volunteer) with his step-mum Sophie Ashcroft, of the Foundation of Light, as they load a car with donated food as fellow volunteers look on. Picture by Frank Reid.

"People have been so kind, it’s a really positive message to send out, and we had one lady pull up who said she won’t be able to see her family this Christmas, but she doesn’t want others to go without.”

Red and White Army added its thanks to Nissan, which was among the supporters to pass on items.

The team tweeted to say it was “overwhelmed by the generosity of Sunderland fans” adding: “Crates and crates of food donated, lots of kind words and a bit of football craic with some of those dropping food off.

Sophie Ashcroft, front, from the Foundation of Light and Red and White Army volunteers man the food bank donation table at the Stadium of Light. Picture by Frank Reid.

"We're over the moon with the turnout.”

A full risk assessment took place and all volunteers were be provided with masks, gloves and hand sanitiser, with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

The session was launched at 9am, with those arriving to hand over goods following a system to ensure everyone was kept safe.

Anyone who would still like to help can donate via with proceeds split between Sunderland Foodbank, Salvation Army and Foundation of Light.

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