The English Football League (EFL) has delivered its one millionth food parcel as part of its ongoing community work supporting those in need during the global pandemic.
A year to the day since football was forced to stop during the first national lockdown, the delivery of the one millionth food parcel is testament that football never went away, with all 72 EFL Clubs continuing to provide community outreach schemes over the last 12 months.
Nottingham Forest Football Club’s First-Team player, Ryan Yates, made the delivery to a local resident who has been relying on food parcel donations throughout the pandemic.
The initiative is part of the EFL’s community response work to help some of the most vulnerable people in communities up and down the country since the outbreak of COVID-19.
EFL players and staff are among those who have donated food and everyday essentials which have been packed and distributed to families facing food poverty or unable to leave their homes while shielding from Coronavirus. With fans absent from stadiums, vacant concourses have been used to store food donations while closed catering facilities re-opened to prepare hot meals and sandwiches to deliver to local disadvantaged people.
Rotherham United Head of Community Jamie Noble was delighted to see the football family come together to reach this incredible milestone, but stressed there is still much hard work to be done.
“We have been here for our community for over 10 years now as a charity, but the last 12 months have been the most challenging that we have every experienced."
“During these unprecedented times, communities have needed their football clubs more than ever and here at Rotherham United it was no different.
“I’m extremely proud that our football club has remained the heartbeat of its local community and been able to reach out and support so many during a tough time for everyone.
“Freddie and many other first team players and staff haven’t thought twice about getting involved and it has been great to see them go above and beyond to help out, this is further evidence of the ‘good human beings’ manager Paul Warne and his staff have brought to the club.
“I must also give a mention to our amazing volunteers, who even through the outbreak have continued with their selfless work to help others.
“Of course, I’m pleased that as a football family we have surpassed a significant milestone, but there is still work to be done and now really is the time for us all to continue working together to make sure no one in our community is left behind.”
Nottingham Forest Community Trust, the charitable arm of Nottingham Forest FC, is one of many EFL Clubs working alongside local authorities and food charities to ensure that no one goes hungry in these difficult times.
Nottingham Forest midfielder Ryan Yates delivering the one millionth parcel.
“It’s been a tough year for all of us, especially being separated from loved ones, but made harder for people struggling to put food on their table.
“At Nottingham Forest, we’ve been doing so much to help those in need – players and staff have been rolling up their sleeves and doing their bit in any way they can.
“It’s an inspiration to meet everyone today and deliver the one millionth food parcel on behalf of all of the Clubs in the EFL.”
Over 36.6million people live within a 10 mile radius of an EFL Club – a radius that encompasses one in four people falling in to the most deprived population. EFL’s community work has never been more important with already deprived communities now facing additional issues brought on by the pandemic.
EFL Chair, Rick Parry, said:
“One year ago this week, stadiums around the country shut down, signalling the start of an unprecedented year for the game – but off the pitch football has never gone away.
“Despite facing significant financial challenges in an uncertain economic landscape, all 72 EFL Clubs and Club Community Organisations stepped up to help frontline services without hesitation.
“I congratulate each and every one of them for the resilience and determination they have demonstrated by continuing to deliver vital community work – this has provided a lifeline for so many during the challenges of the last 12 months.”
EFL’s community response to COVID-19 – Key Numbers:
- Delivered one million food parcels, sandwiches and hot meals
- Delivered over 179,000 items of PPE
- Delivered more than 22,000 prescriptions
- Had in excess of 526,000 outgoing and incoming conversations with fans and vulnerable people
- Stadia is being used as mass vaccination and testing sites to support the NHS
- Providing over 600 job opportunities for young unemployed people through the Kickstart programme
- The EFL is spreading awareness about mental health support and provision through its On Your Side charity partnership with Mind