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Thank you so much for supporting Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen this Christmas!

Our annual appeal has brought the Sunderland football community together once again to support the poorest people in our city. Your kindness will keep the flame of hope and love burning in 2023.

Fourty Seven Thousand Pounds. Fourty Seven Grand. £47,000 raised to feed, clothe, and heat the poorest of us in a year that has seen real incomes falling and prices rising for all of us.

To say that we are grateful for your generosity wouldn't quite capture the sentiment amongst the team of writers, podcasters, and editors here at Roker Report and within the group of volunteers led by Andrea Bell, the founder of Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, and the charity’s trustees.

Andrea has the following message for you all.

In the planning stages of Roker Report Christmas Fundraiser, the fact of the economic climate, fear, gloom, doom, everyone struggling was discussed heavily.

Roker Report, our followers, the incredible public, organisations and our football club have held out their hands to support our work in the community and never in a million years thought this mind blowing amount of money would be raised.

We too live with inflated prices, our team simply work harder to keep our food standards really high, never turn a person away for food, never charge for food or any of our services.

This fundraiser means we can work through next year providing what we set out to do when we opened in 2019, assure people that they never have to go without food here in Sunderland.

We are ‘More Than Just A Soup Kitchen’ and all this is possible because you support our work.

Next year things will get worse, in terms of numbers, at this stage it’s unknown, during 2022 our takeaway provided around 33,280 portions of food, hearty and tasty to people and families who couldn’t have afforded the ingredients to make these meals themselves - we have been a lifeline to many - no intrusive questions and all possible because of your kindness.

This money enables us to do it all again next year.

We are all humbled and moved by the messages of support and encouragement that have accompanied your donations, they’re the fuel that drives us to use our keep putting our time and energy into spreading the message about this most important cause.

Over 800 people have donated over £32,000 directly to the GoFundMe page. Thank you.

Over 122 people bought up the 1,000 raffle tickets on Galabid for the Sunderland AFC posters from Matthew J Wood and prints donated by the Fans Museum. Thank you.

8,500 matchday tickets were sold by Sunderland AFC for the win over Blackburn, with £1 from each being donated to the appeal. Thank you.

Over £3,000 has been donated via the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen Facebook page. Thank you.

Over £1,000 came from the sale of the Loch Ness Drogba socks created by the Sock Council. Thank you.

Almost £700 has been donated via the DONR text message service. Thank you.

Andrea wants everyone to understand that food poverty is the single most pressing social issue in Sunderland right now and that we can all play our part in helping to resolve it. The impact will be felt now and in the future.

Sharing the love this Christmas has made a world of difference to people struggling to feed themselves and their families and with tears of joy rolling down my face writing these words, I cannot stress how important you are in the battle against food poverty - this really will change someone’s world.

With so much gratitude xxx Love Your Soup Kitchen Team xxx

The people supported at the Albert’s Place takeaway, at the independent foodbank in Hendon, and in the community allotment deserve your support and solidarity. They’ve suffered more than most, and the love, care, and attention of their fellow Mackems is critical to their survival now and in 2023.

The human spirit of kindness and concern for your neighbour has shone through once more this Christmas, and the impact will be felt by those in need deeply and keenly. They will not forget your gift to them.

This month there was a 500% increase in traffic on the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen Facebook page. More people are aware of this issue now than ever before and more people understand that this should not be allowed to happen in a civilised society.

Food poverty is not an inevitable fact of life. There is more than enough to go around. So as we thank you for your support we would like to ask one final thing of you.

Learn more about the reality and causes of and solutions to poverty, then join the fight to end this scourge for good. Thank you all.

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