Supporting Foodbanks ahead of the Derby

The Merseyside Derby is all about rivalry. It’s a battle – on the previous 226 occasions it has been played. On the pitch at least. Off it, supporters of both clubs have worked together on a number of issues over the years: ticket prices, policing, bringing justice to Hillsborough families and survivors, and more recently supporting local foodbanks.

Putting aside club colours, Spirit Of Shankly and Everton Supporters’ Trust have worked on the ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’ drive for a couple of seasons. The fans-led initiative was set up by EST and SOS in conjunction with North Liverpool Foodbank, Anfield Breckside Community Centre, Unite in the Community, and the Trussell Trust. It has received the backing of both Everton and Liverpool football clubs, which have given over space for drop-offs in their respective FanZones. Ahead of each Everton and Liverpool matchday, volunteers from North Liverpool Foodbank are joined by supporters to help collect food donated by fans. A total of 3,191kg (502st) of food has been donated by fans since collections began.

The growing need for support for the city’s foodbanks has been highlighted in a report by the Trussell Trust, which stated: ‘2,650 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to local people by 10 foodbanks during April – September 2016’. Of this number, 978 went to children. The report concluded that the top three reasons for foodbank referrals were: benefit delay 34%; benefit change 24%; low income 19%.

Vicky Ponsonby, Foodbank Manager of North Liverpool Foodbank said: “Anybody could find themselves in need of the foodbank. Every week we meet local people like you or me, who have been hit by something unavoidable – such as illness, a delay in welfare payments or an unexpected bill - and are unable to afford food. It really is only with the community’s support that we’re able to provide vital emergency help when it most matters, and we’re constantly surprised and overwhelmed by local people’s generosity.

Ian Byrne, founder member of Fans Supporting Foodbanks and SOS committee member said: “In an ideal world we would not need to do this, but more and more families are finding themselves having to use foodbanks. With winter and Christmas approaching it is vital foodbanks get the support they need. Liverpool and Everton fans have shown in recent years that campaigning together for the people of our city delivers results. We believe our actions can help those who need it the most in our community.

Dave Kelly, chair of Fans Supporting Foodbanks and EST committee member said: “The motto of the campaign states ‘hunger does not wear club colours’ and the dedication shown by fans from both sides of the park should be commended.”

Ahead of tonight’s game, fans are asked to continue their support and bring dry products, such as rice, pasta, tinned and packet produce, breakfast cereals, biscuits, long-life milk, fruit juice and sugar. Toiletries, and children’s nappies are also welcome. donations can be dropped off at any one of three collections points around Goodison Park: St Luke’s Church, The Winslow Pub on Goodison Road and the Foodbank van at the Park End. 


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