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#SoupKitchen23: As Christmas draws nearer, every donation for the SCSK is vital!

During the days before the 25th of December, we have a wonderful chance to increase the total, so please give whatever you can!

At the end of every Sunderland game - win, lose or draw - something that always makes me feel glad is the fact that I’m heading home to a warm house, a hot meal, and to the presence of loved ones.

Supporting the Lads has always been a family affair (despite being the son of a Newcastle-supporting mother and a red and white-daft father) and in the aftermath of games, there’s nothing I enjoy more than popping round and chewing the fat with my dad, talking about who played well and how things went.

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

When we lose a game, the journey home is sometimes made in anger or frustration as I relive exactly what went wrong during the ninety minutes but by the time I arrive home, some things become far more important than the result of a football match.

As a fanbase, we often disagree on many things but there’s one thing that’ll always unite us, and that’s a sense of belonging.

We rightly set great stall by our love for Sunderland AFC but if there’s one thing this time of year always brings home, it’s that there’s another side to life in red and white, one that’s fuelled by respect and care for each other in good times and bad.

In a society in which money is tight for so many and that often shuns those who’ve fallen by the wayside or for whom life has dealt a brutal hand, the need to provide comfort, guidance and vital resources to those who need it most has never been more pressing.

That’s why the incredible work of the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen is so vitally important.

At this time of year, their presence in the city and their willingness to extend a hand to those who need it most can mean the difference between ongoing destitution and a ray of hope; between spending nights on cold city streets and finding much-needed shelter from the harsh grip of a Wearside winter.

Brexit - Focus On The Regions Which Voted Leave Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Indeed, the SCSK has gone a long way towards destroying the traditional and wildly inaccurate notion of what we might’ve imagined a soup kitchen to be. It’s a community hub, a lifeline and a place where anyone, regardless of background or circumstances, can find help and support.

Before Sunderland’s recent home game against West Bromwich Albion, Andrea and her wonderful team of volunteers held a food collection outside the Stadium of Light on a damp and drizzly Saturday morning.

The weather was dreadful but as the rain fell, spirits were high, jokes were exchanged and the banter was upbeat. Indeed, almost as amazing as the sense of togetherness were Andrea’s stories of the work done by the SCSK, and sheer determination they show in order to get it done.

Slowly, donation after donation began to roll in and as the van filled up and the supply of food became more plentiful, you couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride that the Sunderland fan community had come together once again to help those less fortunate than themselves.

From boxes and bags to parcels small and large, people responded magnificently and the best wishes from donors were the final touch to their generosity.

At Roker Report, we’ve tried to play our part in the fundraising efforts through the creation and publication of ‘SAFC:365’ and the total raised via our GoFundMe appeal has been steadily increasing day by day, but in the days leading up to Christmas, we’re making one final rallying cry.

Every penny is vital and will be used by the SCSK to continue their essential work. Even the most seemingly insignificant items, from a £5 monetary donation to a packet of granola, can make such a huge difference and it’s impossible to express just how appreciated your donations are.

Times are tough for so many but few fanbases in the country are blessed with such a wonderful sense of community spirit as the red and white army. Winning games of football is important, but helping those in need and opening our arms instead of turning a cold shoulder is something that we Mackems can rightly take immense pride in.


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