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During hard times, Sunderland’s sense of community spirit is shining through!

The work of the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen is changing lives throughout the city, but they need our help more than ever, writes Paddy Hollis

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

During the past week, the North East was hit with ice, snow, and bitterly cold conditions.

For many, it led to concerns about being able to heat their homes, and the choice between heating or eating is a decision faced by far too many people across the country.

People who need to make this choice or who, God forbid, are finding it even tougher, need a supporting hand to reach out to them. Thankfully, across the country, there are many individuals doing just that.

Beacon of Light, Sunderland, United Kingdom. Architect: FaulknerBrowns, 2019. Photo by: Richard Chivers/View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Among the many places in Sunderland to offer a lifeline for those who need it the most is the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, and the passionate people who run it.

When others have fallen short in their duty, they offer a dignified and vital option to those who have fallen on hard times.

As winter tightens its grip, the annual Roker Report fundraiser for the soup kitchen is well underway. The donations continue to arrive, even at a time when we’re feeling the pinch more than ever, and the total stood at £15,990 at the time of writing.

The generosity of the people associated with our football club and our city is never lost on me, but after several years of running the fundraiser, it doesn’t surprise me anymore.

The willingness to rally around the soup kitchen at a time of year that people often find hard makes me proud to be associated with the area.

The news that Sunderland will donate £1 from every ticket sold for the Boxing Day clash against Blackburn Rovers is another fine example of engaging and working with the people who make the club what it is.

Sunderland v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ultimately, organisations such as the soup kitchen shouldn’t need to exist.

In a country that boasts one of the biggest economies in the world, people relying on the kind-hearted nature of charitable support to get by isn’t something that should be widespread, but due to neglect and the nature of those in power, it is.

Society is judged on how it looks after its people, and when the authorities don’t fulfill their duty, charitable groups are there to put an arm around the shoulder of those who need it most.

The kind and selfless nature of the soup kitchen staff, several of which I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting, is an example of how we should all act towards our fellow humans. They engage with people who could be at their lowest ebb, and they treat them with the dignity we all deserve.

Through their Facebook page, they share the wonderful efforts of donations from individuals and businesses around the city, as well as keeping the public updated on some of the incredible lengths they go to in making sure people who come to them receive the help they need.

Whatever the final total may be this year, every penny will be used by the soup kitchen to continue their fantastic work. Many people have already dug deep to donate what they can, and there’s still time to do so if you haven’t yet.

We come together as fans to back our team, but this call for support transcends football.

Putting money towards this incredible cause will have a genuine and direct impact on the lives of people in our city.

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