Today we launch our annual Christmas appeal for the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen. We know times are tough for many people, but please do donate what you can spare. Every penny makes a difference, and don’t forget to add the Gift Aid to your gift if you’re a UK taxpayer.
Our football community has the power to do a huge amount of good in the world, and throughout the pandemic, Sunderland supporters have proven to be a kind, resilient, and resourceful bunch. We stick together when times are hard. And these are the hardest of times for many people.
We want to let you know just how important this charity is to the poorest people in our community, and how your donations will be used to continue the phenomenal work that they do.
We also want to give you a little preview of some of the special events Roker Report have coming up over the next few weeks as we aim to achieve this year's goal of raising a grand total of £40,000, and the ways you can get involved as well.
What will your donation do?
Since we started raising money for the Soup Kitchen in 2019, our readers and listeners have donated over £50,000 to the cause.
Through this unbelievable kindness, the charity’s founder and driving force, the indomitable Andrea Bell, has built the services it offers around the needs of those facing homelessness and food poverty in our city. She prides herself on how open and accessible the Soup Kitchen is to those who find the need to use it:
We never ask intrusive questions simply do you want curry or pasta. We treat everyone with respect. We are very respected and trusted. We never charge for anything. Food, clothes, furniture, food parcels all free to people we help.
The charity now employs a chef who uses the best fresh ingredients to create hot meals on a daily basis, and last year launched their amazing Albert’s Place on High Street West in the city centre and is open four nights a week. This takeaway restaurant is the jewel in the crown of the charity and was only made possible by the Roker Report appeal last year.
But this day-to-day job of feeding hot, fresh and wholesome food to those with empty bellies is only the start of the work that the charity has developed over the two and a half years since it started.
They run an ever-popular food bank, have a regular food delivery service, and will be doing their annual Christmas dinner drop-off to those suffering food poverty ahead of the festivities at the end of this month, ensuring that everyone who needs it will be able to have a proper celebration on the 25th December. They even top-up gas and electricity for those who couldn't afford the fuel to cook, with over a dozen families being supported this way last year.
The Soup Kitchen provides sleeping bags, foil blankets, warm clothes, blankets, hats, scarves, and gloves to rough sleepers from Albert’s Place. They help parents with new Christmas presents that meet the wishes of their kids, they help military veterans and refugees, victims of child trafficking and young people who’ve been kicked out of home. They help homeless families get set up in new accommodation, furnishing flats and houses, buying fresh bedding, and linking people to the support on offer from the council and other services.
And they do it through the generosity of other people in the community who give their time and their money to help out how they can; they’ve developed a self-sustaining model that doesn't rely upon meeting the requirements of grant funders to keep the operation going. 44 people work for the Soup Kitchen as volunteers, two of whom are paid.
The funds raised by the Roker Report appeal underpins this independence - it allows them the freedom. The money we raise together with our readers and listeners this month will ensure that new projects can be developed and the running costs of the charity are covered in the year ahead. Andrea has plans for mental health cafe drop in sessions throughout next year for the general public, and to set up a room at their 3000sq ft warehouse you helped to fund with a room for free hairdressing, podiatry voluntary and a nurse practitioner, if funding allows.
Listen to the Podcast...
Today we have published the 501st episode of the Roker Rapport Podcast, which features Andrea and was recorded on location at Albert’s Place when our Gav and our Ant dropped in to do a bit of volunteering earlier this week. You can listen to her describe in her own words the fantastic work that they do.
Donate food today...
Your direct donations of food are always welcome at the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen. Please visit their Facebook page to find out when and where you can bring along some carrier bags of the staples people need in their cupboards and fridges this Christmas.
Take part in our 24 hour Global Twitter Space...
At 8pm on Friday 10th December, we will start our own little marathon; a day-long, worldwide live broadcast on Twitter Spaces, all in aid of raising more awareness of poverty in our city and more money for the Soup Kitchen.
We will be hearing from some extra special SAFC guests who will (hopefully) drop in throughout the broadcast, and there’ll be loads of chances for you to get involved too.
Our podcast hosts are reaching out to Sunderland AFC fans and Branches around the world to help keep the Space going throughout the night and early morning, so if you’re reading this in Asia, the Americas, Africa, or Australasia please do drop us a line by email or DM on social media and we’ll work together to make this a truly global event for everyone who cares about Sunderland.
It’s going to be fun, and entertaining. Here’s just a taste of what we have planned so far:
- Friday night Sunderland Chant Karaoke
- Sunderland supporters wishes to Mackem Santa
- NASA Takeover for the Americas (9.00-11.00pm EDT)
- Lasses Podcast Special with SAFC Ladies legends
- Plymouth pre-match, Watch-along, half-time, and post-match shows
Just to kick things off, @RokerRapportPod have donated all advertising revenue accrued by our hosting platform, Acast, which totals £13,000.— Roker Report ❤️ (@RokerReport) December 1, 2021
We want to eclipse last year's total.
We can only do this with your help!
DONATE TODAY: https://t.co/BdM1Nv2NYK pic.twitter.com/bPq4iUHvGR
Share our links on your social media...
The GoFundMe link for you to copy, paste and share around your WhatsApp and Messenger Groups is https://gofund.me/5989c97b
Every retweet on Twitter or share on Facebook and Instagram means more people know about the appeal and we can raise more funds. Use #SoupKitchen21 in your posts to keep the message travelling far and wide.
Join the campaign...
Please think about writing to your MP and your local councilor to ask them to take action to address the ongoing issues of homelessness and food poverty in our communities. The elimination of food poverty and homelessness is a political choice that those in power can make if the people who elect them make it a priority.