Social Justice

Food banks fear 'a tragedy' as weekend football cancelled following Queen's death

Fan groups which collect donations on match days worry how they will supply food banks after the weekend football was cancelled

Food bank supplies on trollies.

Food banks are facing unprecedented demand as the cost of living bites. Photo: Sarah Wilson

Food banks collecting donations at football grounds have raised serious concerns about the impact of cancelling the weekend’s matches following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

MCFC Fans Foodbank, which collects at games for the mega-rich Manchester City, called the cancellation “a tragedy” as it means hundreds of emergency meals for households in need will vanish. The Premier League is under no obligation to cancel games as a result of the Queen’s death.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the organisers wrote: “We’re beyond gutted that the two collections we had planned for this weekend aren’t able to go ahead following the postponement of all fixtures by the footballing authorities, especially for what would have been our first collection of the 22-23 women’s season on Sunday.”

Their collections outside the Etihad Stadium have become the biggest donations that Manchester Central Foodbank receive, according to the statement, “especially during one of the worst crises of our lifetimes, with food bank usage through the roof and people terrified at having to choose between fuel, powering homes, or feeding their families.”

The scheme was reportedly expecting to collect at least 250kg of food for hundreds of meals this week. Organisers are now urging followers to make a donation to the Manchester Central Foodbank.

Manchester City has promised to donate any perishable food that would have been served on matchday to organisations across the city and to pay all casual workers the wages they would have missed.

Food bank use has rocketed in the UK recent years as double-digit inflation and eye-watering energy bills follow the Covid pandemic, Brexit and years of cuts to government spending.

Food bank network The Trussell Trust distributed more than two million emergency food parcels in the 2021/22 financial years and that number is expected to be higher as winter approaches.

“Thirty per cent of all the food donated to the North Liverpool Food Bank is collected outside Anfield and Goodison,” said Dave Kelly, co-founder of the Fans Supporting Foodbanks network.

“Every time a match is cancelled it creates a massive void. The needs and the demands are getting ever greater on us.”

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