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#SoupKitchen21: The support from the Sunderland footy community makes me proud to be part of it

With the 2020 target well on the way to being smashed, this year’s fundraiser has filled me with more pride regarding our club’s community than ever before.

Photo by Owen Humphreys - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

I pen this article on a Friday night, but unlike other Friday night articles you may find on this site in other weeks of the year, this will have little focus on the football that is taking place over the weekend.

Instead, the intended focus is the annual Sunderland Soup Kitchen fundraiser, which Roker Report has kicked off this week and how, after just a matter of days, has smashed the £25,000 mark with ease.

[Ed’s note: We’re well past that now!]

The importance of the Soup Kitchen’s work can never be understated, and although it is an absolute travesty that places like this even need to exist in 21st century England, the people behind it are those who we all want to have in our lives to support us in times of hardship.

Seeing that total soar up through the high £10,000s and onto the right side of £25,000 so early on in the campaign is heartwarming.

The effort so far, even at this early stage, from people across the SAFC community and beyond is a much-needed reminder that there are still lots of amazing people in this world.

Former players and pundits alike have chipped in with the fundraising effort to give money to a charitable foundation that supports people who are most in need.

Nothing, it seems, brings together the community around our football club more than the opportunity to help out others within that community.

It is often said that Sunderland AFC is the beating heart of the city.

“When the club is doing well, the city does well”, is a line that was said in the ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’. This feels true when walking around Sunderland during a slump in form.

When it comes to the work of the Soup Kitchen and other similar organisations, matters on the pitch pale in comparison and feel trivial to say the least.

However, the influence and compassion of the footballing community can never be underestimated and it is people who we know from across the footballing world who have come together for this cause.

Following Sunderland is something that brings us all together as fans of this football club, and in the generosity shown towards the fundraiser, we are seeing the very best side of our club, the wider north east region and the wider footballing community.

It has been a hard 18 months for people, and the pandemic will have had a lasting impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of so many.

Donating money to charity might not be high on many people’s priorities, but the fundraiser total is evidence that the Sunderland community will always do their utmost to help each other out.

No one wants to need to rely on food banks, and as I wrote earlier, their mere existence is evidence of a society that has failed its most vulnerable citizens,

However, the work of organisations such as the Soup Kitchen allows for those who do need support to receive it from some of the most caring and respectful people in our society.

We have a lot to be proud of about our footballing community, but nothing makes me more proud to have been born in Sunderland than the loving and supportive response this fundraiser effort receives in the lead-up to Christmas.

It doesn’t matter where you are from or how much/ little you have donated, if you have given any amount at all then you have helped to make life a little bit easier for someone at a time when so many need the support.

And that should make all of us feel incredibly proud.

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