Sunderland fans urged to donate items to new foodbank scheme at weekend's match
Sunderland supporters are being urged to dig deep and donate items or money for a new foodbank scheme.
Independent fan group Red and White Army (RAWA) have partnered with foodbanks in the city to help raise awareness of the project and encourage donations.
The partnership kicks off on Saturday at the Stadium of Light’s Fan Zone before the home game against Fleetwood Town, kick-off 3pm.
Chiefs at RAWA say they would like Sunderland supporters to provide help to foodbanks on Wearside by donating food that will be distributed to those in need.
RAWA chairman Andrew Hird said: “It’s very sad that in this day and age that there is a real demand for this.
"The volunteers and small staff team of the local foodbank network do an amazing job on a shoe string.
"RAWA members voted unanimously at our recent AGM to provide a helping hand and we are very happy to do so.
"We’re sure Sunderland supporters will get behind this and we are very grateful to the club for providing space in the Fan Zone where fans can leave their donations – whether it’s cash or food”.
Foodbank co-ordinator Kate Townsend added: “Working together with the Red and White Army and having a collection at the Stadium of Light will be amazing for our foodbanks.
"Football brings communities together and foodbanks are helping the community in and around Sunderland.
"We see people struggling to make ends meet due to low income or benefit changes and collections of this nature are so important in supporting the community.”
The Fans Supporting Foodbanks donation point will open at 12pm in the Fanzone at the stadium.
Donations of non-perishable food items and cash will be welcomed.
The foodbank is asking especially for tinned fish, tinned fruit, coffee, custard, rice pudding and tinned potatoes.
Fans can also drop off food donations at the Beacon of Light ahead of Saturday's match.
Donations can be left at the new centre, adjacent to the Sunderland Aquatic Centre, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm.
Sunderland AFC’s Supporter Liaison Officer Chris Waters said: “As a football club that sits at the heart of the city’s community we are delighted to support the Red and White Army and Sunderland Foodbank with this new partnership.
"We encourage as many supporters to get behind this campaign and provide what they can to offer support.”