They might be rivals on the pitch, but this weekend Manchester United and Manchester City announced a combined £100,000 donation to support Greater Manchester’s food banks amid rising demand.
Food donations are usually provided on match days through the MCFC Fans’ Foodbank Support and MUFC Fans’ Foodbank, but with large gatherings and football matches currently suspended the clubs have stepped in with a financial donation instead.
The groups usually collect supplies outside Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium before home games, but this has been interrupted by the suspension of football due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So each club has donated £50,000 to boost supplies at nineteen Trussell Trust foodbanks across Greater Manchester.
In a joint-statement, Manchester City and Manchester United said:
“We are proud of the role our supporters play in helping local food banks and recognise the increased strain likely to be placed on these charities by the impact of coronavirus.
“At a time of challenge for our community, we are pleased to come together with our fans to help vulnerable members of society in a City United.”
Food banks are coming under increased strain as the coronavirus crisis starts to take hold of the country.
Stockpiling is still leaving supermarket shelves empty and the number of vulnerable people needing to use foodbank services is on the rise as people continue to lose their jobs or see their incomes slashed.
The Trussell Trust’s senior operations manager Rachel Macklin said: “As the coronavirus pandemic develops, more people than ever may need help from food banks across our network.
“This situation presents a huge additional pressure on already overstretched resources. We may start to see a reduction in food donations and volunteers may become unavailable if they are in the at-risk categories or are self-isolating.
“We’re working closely with our network to understand each food bank’s situation, offer guidance, and work out how we can best support them.
“We know we won’t be able to do this alone, so we are truly grateful for the support Manchester United and Manchester City are showing local food banks. On behalf of food banks in our network in Manchester, we thank you so much.”
Commenting on the donation, MCFC Fans’ Foodbank Support, said:
“We’re delighted that City and United have donated such a huge amount to Fans Supporting Foodbanks. This will be an enormous help for the Greater Manchester community at a time when people need it most.
“We’d like to thank everyone on both sides for demonstrating that hunger doesn’t wear club colours, and for the show of community solidarity.”
A spokesperson for the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) said: “MUST has been operating our Fans’ Foodbank donation collection service on Manchester United home matchdays for some time but, with the impact of coronavirus, we have been forced to switch to appealing for online cash donations only.
“The news that Manchester United and Manchester City have agreed to make such a large contribution is fantastic news and will make a huge difference supporting vulnerable people in communities across Manchester at this time.”
Food banks expect to start to see a reduction in food donations over the coming weeks and anticipate some volunteers may become unavailable if they are in the at-risk categories or are self-isolating.
Most are run as charities by local volunteers and cannot operate without additional support, making the move from Manchester’s football clubs incredibly welcome.
If you are in need of emergency food support or are interested in supporting the Trussell Trust click here.