Liverpool Football Club's foodbank appeals to support people living in food poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic have raised a total of £122,000.
The donations are made up of £52k from the club’s Unity Is Strength Facebook appeal, which included contributions from fans, partners, Official Liverpool Supporters’ Club Norway and the Steven Gerrard Foundation. A further £70k was donated by OLSC Norway, which hosted a second LFC foodbank appeal in November.
The funding will be split across the eight Trussell Trust foodbanks in the Liverpool City Region - Wirral, Southport, South Liverpool, Runcorn, Widnes, St Helens, South Sefton and Knowsley - with each foodbank receiving £14k. Each foodbank will use the money to fund a variety of things, from food supplies to providing families with other support services such as financial and debt advice.
An additional £10k is helping to fund food that will be included in the club’s 1,500 Christmas food hampers, which will be gifted to vulnerable people and families across north Liverpool. The hampers will include fresh food to prepare a turkey roast dinner as well as a host of festive treats.
Tore Hansen, secretary of the OLSC Norway, whose members raised a phenomenal £86k in total, said: “Over the years, we have had regular fundraising activities for various local charities on Merseyside. We see this as a big and important part of being a supporters’ club - football is much more than just what happens on the pitch.
“We know how hard COVID-19 has hit many people and families in Liverpool, especially with Christmas coming up soon as well. Our branch also had a successful fundraiser for foodbanks in April.
“We are overwhelmed and very proud by the response from our members. I think the amount of money raised reflects how much we all miss the city and the people. In fact, we love you even more.”
This £122,000 donation - added to the club’s and LFC Foundation’s £147,000 donation to St Andrew’s community network earlier this month - brings the total donation to more than £260,000.
The £147k donation is being used by St Andrew’s community network - home of the North Liverpool Foodbank - 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.
Community pantries are a sustainable long-term option for local communities that provide members with a dignity of choice. Through a weekly membership fee of £3.50, people can choose food with a value of up to £25 per week.
Matt Parish, director of LFC Foundation, said: “It is truly remarkable to see how the LFC family has come together during this very difficult time to support those in need. The generosity and kindness displayed is really humbling and I am so proud to be a part of this community.
“It is thanks to our big-hearted supporters, who I express my deepest thanks to, that we have been able to donate to date over £260,000 to support foodbanks and community pantries across our great City Region. This funding will help our community partners to support thousands of vulnerable people and families experiencing food poverty.”
One of the recipients of a £14k donation, Debbie Shelley of South Sefton Foodbank, said: “We are really grateful for the generous donation. It will really make a difference here and enable us to help those in need and the vulnerable in the run-up to Christmas and beyond during the winter months.”
Richard Roberts, general manager at Wirral Foodbank, said: “Wirral Foodbank is committed to not only supporting individuals with emergency food, but to addressing the underlying reason for needing such support. We have set up Wirral Foodbank Plus, whereby we fund a full-time Citizens Advice Adviser who provides advice on benefits, debt, housing and other issues to individuals who attend the foodbank. Your generous donation will be used to support this project.”
If you would like to make a donation to St Andrew’s Community Network - home of the North Liverpool Foodbank - click here.
You can also donate £5 by texting FOODBANKFC to 70460 (donations cost £5 plus standard network message rate).
For information on food drop-off points, please visit https://northliverpool.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/.