The Leeds Fans Foodbank was set up in October 2018, to hold match day collections throughout the season at every home match, with fans encouraged to donate food or cash donations where possible at Elland Road. It was a very successful first season, with Leeds fans donating enough food to donate over 10,000 meals to people in crisis across Leeds.
The food drive, which now continues to be a regular part of the furniture outside Elland Road on Matchdays, is located close to Bremner Square and in front of the East Stand giving fans and local people the chance to give any emergency food items or funds if they can.
Under the umbrella of Leeds Fans Foodbank, this supports two of the main foodbanks in the city, Leeds Foodbank North West and Leeds Foodbank South and East, meaning we can reach and support families right across the city.
The initiative asks for donations of food that is still in date and still good to eat, which will then provide three days of nutritionally balanced emergency food to support local people that have been referred to them in crisis.
The Trust have run a number of events such as a Easter Raffle and the Walk from Leeds to Huddersfield to raise funds on the just giving page, which hit around £10,000.
Then in March, we we’re all thrown with the postponement of football matches due to Covid-19, this impacted on the food items that we’re being donated to the foodbanks. The Trust then asked fans if they’d be willing to donate the cost of their match day pie and pint to the online just giving page, this also led to a sizeable donation made by the Leeds United first team players who in the midst of a wage deferral also dug deep into their own pockets to donate. Fans again rallied round with monetary donations, some who now find themselves in a period of financial uncertainty.
The team over at the Square Ball, decided to then run a 24hour Football Manager Marathon, which was meant to be a bit of fun to pass the time during the lockdown period. They decided that they’d also try and help to raise some funds for the Leeds Fans Foodbank at the same time.
Overwhelmingly, the fundraiser raised over, £13,000 across the week, which is equivalent to providing around 15,285 meals to the most vulnerable people in our communities. The total amount raised since October 2018 now exceeds £26,000.
Trish Ryder, Distribution Centre Manager for Leeds North/West Foodbank said “While not being able to physically support us at the regular match day collections by donating food and funds, the Leeds United Fans have again stepped up to support the vulnerable people in our community. What an amazing total, smashing over £13,000, a huge thank you to everyone at the Square Ball for organising it and to every single person who donated.”
Dan Moylan, The Square Ball said “Leeds United fans have proved yet again they are second to none. It’s really humbling that so many were willing to donate money at a time that’s incredibly challenging for millions of people across the country and around the world. Like the supporters who donated, The Square Ball wanted to support the Leeds Fans Food Bank initiative because it will help the most vulnerable members of our community during these difficult times.
“We were thrilled that so many joined us for our 24-hour virtual journey through the 2007-08 season. It was a relief that we were able to reward those who stayed with us on the stream into the early hours of Sunday morning by achieving the unthinkable: a Leeds United playoff victory at Wembley. Our thanks go to comedian Jon Richardson, who auctioned off his treasured Leeds United onesie for the cause, a gesture that gained the food bank a £300 donation.
“Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, players and fans alike have showed us that the words ‘Marching on Together’ have never been more appropriate.”
Pete Emmerson, Leeds United Supporters’ Trust Chair said “A big thank you to everyone at the Square Ball for not only providing us with entertainment, but for helping to raise a whopping £13k for Leeds Fans Foodbank. The efforts of Leeds fans and how we all pull together is outstanding, yet not surprising. We’ve now raised over £25,000 since it was launched in 2018, but we’re not stopping here, we will continue to support wherever we can. It makes me truly proud to be part of the Leeds United community.”