Liverpool Football Club and its official charity, LFC Foundation, have made a substantial donation of over £147,000 to support local people and families in food poverty across Liverpool.
The funds were raised as a result of donations from LFC Foundation’s official LFC Legends charity match ticket refunds (after the game was cancelled due to the pandemic), the sales of Levi’s x LFC exclusive trucker jackets and limited-edition T-shirts and generous LFC executive lounge and boardroom members.
The substantial donation, made during the club’s Operation Christmas Magic campaign this December, will enable the St Andrew’s Community Network – home of the North Liverpool Foodbank – to fund a variety of projects to help tackle food poverty across Liverpool and provide increased access to support for people in need.
Approximately £80,000 of the donation will be used to fund the development of five new community pantries across Liverpool and help to increase and further subsidise food provision at seven existing Your Local community pantries to give members the best experience possible.
Community pantries are a sustainable long-term option for local communities, which provide members with a dignity of choice, and through a weekly membership fee of £3.50 they can choose food with a value of up to £25 per week.
The five new community pantries will support 750 families every year, supplying a wide range of fresh and frozen products including meat, fruit and vegetables, toiletries, baby and hygiene products, household items and dried and tinned goods.
The donation will also be invested into warehouse facilities to secure the future expansion of North Liverpool Foodbank’s operation including the purchase of new refrigeration equipment and new electronic systems.
Another £20,000 will be used to purchase a new delivery van, which will serve the 22 locations of the foodbank and pantry network across Liverpool, with more funding enabling the appointment of a new foodbank and pantry coordinator to control stock centrally, as well as support a community money advice service in Your Local community pantries through contribution to welfare benefits advice and facilitate ongoing training and development for staff and volunteers.
Matt Parish, LFC Foundation director, said: “We are delighted to be able to make this sizeable donation to St Andrew’s Community Network to help tackle the ever-growing issue of food poverty in our city.
“To be able to help St Andrews Community Network create five new community pantries and fund existing pantries so more local families can access the food and support they need is fantastic.
“I’d like to thank the amazing LFC family who have come together in such difficult times and shown such generosity. Every donation – no matter how big or small – makes such a difference and will help those most in need in our communities.”
North Liverpool Foodbank reported its busiest month to date in October, with 521 households (874 adults and 588 children) signed up to seven community pantries across Liverpool and a total of 901 member visits.
There have been between eight and 10 applications every day by local families and many community pantries are running close to their maximum capacity of 150 members.
Kevin Peacock, chief executive at St Andrew’s Community Network, added: “St Andrew’s Community Network is really excited about the opportunities these incredible donations offers. The increased capacity we will be able to build into our essential services will have a massive impact. We have seen a significant increase in need for the people we support in North Liverpool and this has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This donation will enable us to increase the pace at which we are growing our response to this demand and will ultimately support many more people in food insecurity in our area. We are very grateful for the support of all involved, fans and organisation alike. Thank you.”
Helping to tackle food poverty in the local community is not a new concept for the club. Its community team, Red Neighbours, have been working closely with St Andrew’s Community Network – home of North Liverpool Foodbank and Fans Supporting Foodbanks since 2017 – to support people in food crisis in North Liverpool.
From promoting and assisting with food collections at every home game to providing free breakfast clubs to local families during school holidays to most recently donating 1,000 fresh, free meals every week since April this year – totalling 30,000 to date.
Forbes Duff, Red Neighbours senior manager, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has made this donation possible with their generosity – it makes me so proud to be a part of the LFC family.
“We are delighted that this donation to help fund the creation of five new community pantries across the city. My team and I have witnessed first-hand the success of community pantries and how they provide people and families in need with an affordable, sustainable food source in an accessible and dignified environment.
“Sadly, food poverty continues to be an issue in our great city and the current pandemic is continuing to have a negative effect on many people’s lives, particularly financially. We will continue to raise awareness of food poverty and work hard to support and fund our community partners so that they can continue their fantastic work helping people in need in our local communities.”