Sunderland AFC fans urged to back foodbank appeal at Stadium of Light ahead of Bristol Rovers clash
Black Cats fans are being urged to help make Christmas happier for vulnerable families across Sunderland.
Supporters group The Red and White Army (RAWA) and Sunderland Foodbanks are making a special Christmas appeal to fans attending the clash with Bristol Rovers at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
The collection will be the third of the season, with Sunderland supporters having already donated hundreds of items of food on their way to the ground.
On both occasions the foodbank van has been weighed down with tins, toiletries and packets of food.
Kate Townsend, of Sunderland Foodbanks, said: "The Christmas period is a particularly hard time for those who rely on the help of their local foodbank. Partnering with the Red and White Army and getting the support from Sunderland AFC has really helped to raise awareness and we hope fans will be out in force again to help."
RAWA's Andrew Hird welcomed the opportunity to help, saying: "We set up Red and White Army to help supporters have a voice in the running of their football club. Our current owners make that job so much easier it allows us to focus on additional projects such as this.
"This club is central to the community of Sunderland so it’s natural to get involved and help those in need, especially at this time of year."
Sunderland AFC’s supporter liaison officer, Chris Waters said: "The Sunderland Foodbank helps those most in need within our community. We are delighted to be able to play our part in supporting it and we would encourage as many supporters as possible to help us to help families in need at this special time of year."
MP for Sunderland Central Julie Elliot called for supporters to back the partnership, and said: “I would urge everyone who is going to watch Sunderland play on December 15 against Bristol Rovers to bring something along with them to give to the Sunderland Foodbank.
"The work that the fans and the volunteers at the foodbank are doing is wonderful, and it really does show the best of Sunderland, that people are prepared to go out across the Christmas period to support each other and to help each other."
Supporters attending Saturday’s game can bring their donations to the south east corner of the stadium, adjacent to the Fan Zone site and opposite the ALS building. Donations will be accepted from 12.30pm.
The Sunderland Foodbank will be delighted to accept donations of non-perishable food items, such as tinned goods, biscuits, tea, coffee, cereals, as well as toiletries.