Thanks to generous donations from the local community and beyond, our Christmas Comforts campaign has been bigger than ever this year, with so much generosity from a huge number of kind-hearted individuals and organisations.
A key part of any Christmas Dinner, 40 kilos of turkey breasts, donated by Bailey’s Turkeys in Knutsford, were collected on Monday and cooked in the club kitchens. Michael Bailey said: “We are proud to be carrying on what has become a tradition to support FC United in their Christmas Comforts campaigns. We hope to continue this in the future.” The turkeys were sent out along with mince pies, tins of ham, chocolate brownies and many other tasty treats in the Christmas hampers. Morrison’s Failsworth and FareShare Openshaw, amongst many others, have been incredibly generous with donations and FC United would like to thank them for their partnership. Our main Christmas Comforts sponsor Sheridan Lifts, who have helped to make this year’s Christmas Comforts possible said: “We are delighted to continue supporting FC United in the excellent Christmas Comforts campaign. This pandemic has escalated the need for our partnership to reach out and work closely together in what can be a very stressful time of the year”
Around 75 Christmas hampers and present sacks were dispatched on Christmas Eve which will help to feed over 250 people over the holiday period. They were sent mainly to displaced families housed in temporary accommodation based in hostels throughout the city, including expectant mothers and families with young and teenage children.
Throughout the week, our volunteers have been working hard to wrap presents and compile the food hampers ready for the Christmas Eve deliveries. Organic Soul Food, one of FC United’s partners who strive to build community cohesion through homeless feeds and supporting food banks, provided a team throughout the week who worked alongside volunteers from FC United, the Far East Consortium and the Co-op, wrapping gifts and putting together the extra special Christmas hampers ready for delivery.
Wajid from Organic Soul Food said: “What an amazing group of people they are at FC United. Organic Soul have been working together with the team for a few years now and it feels like home to us. The Food Hub supports 100s of families all year round and is not just a project over Christmas. We enjoyed making it extra special for the most vulnerable and needy at this time of year. What we found amazing is how they support whoever comes to the door, not only individuals, but other food banks like us. FC United’s food hub are a group with a lot of compassion for others, without wanting something in return. God Bless you all, we are looking forward to continuing to work together in the future”
The parcels were made and delivered to hostels across Manchester including in Fallowfield, Rusholme, Harpurhey, Withington, Audenshaw, Cheetham Hill and Withington. Families were referred to the hub by Manchester City Council Homeless Division. Parcels were also sent to emergency referrals from the past week from social workers and other key workers, as most food banks close for referrals over the festive period.
Our fleet of delivery vehicles, complete with FC United Christmas Comforts stickers, included taxis from Cresta Cars, a van from Master Moves and cars from FC United and Organic Soul, which left Broadhurst Park on their Christmas Eve mission.
Cresta Cars, who kindly provided drivers and vehicles to make the deliveries said: “It was a privilege being involved in this year’s Christmas Comforts appeal organised by FC United – our company helped deliver a smile on many faces in North Manchester who would have gone without this Christmas. We would like to thank many local businesses and the local community who donated their time and gifts, especially Vinny at FC United who has helped to shine a light in these dark times. Everyone at Cresta Cars would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and stay safe over the festive period”
A spokesperson from Master Moves said: “I’ve been happy to be involved from the first week of the formation of the FC United Food Hub. I look forward to continuing in the partnership with pride”
Families in the hostels are transient and are often moved around daily for their own safety. One of our delivery drivers said: “Both my families in one hostel had moved out of their B&B yesterday. Just managed to catch the second one at their new address, worth the wait to see the look of delight on the little boy’s face”
One emergency referral and recipient of a festive food hamper and gifts expressed their gratitude in a text message to the team: “Thank you very much for the gift, we are so happy. May God bless you all double-fold”
Vinny Thompson, FC United’s Community Officer, who pioneered Christmas Comforts said: “We have just finished what is a beautiful piece of social engagement. A diverse, eclectic bunch of individuals who gave their time freely to make what is probably one of the best community projects in the north of Manchester. We are proud of what we have achieved, and how FC United has stayed true to its roots of engaging with communities. Unfortunately, we expect that the need will still be there into 2021 and we therefore hope to carry on shining a light in these dark places in the future”.
FC United’s Food Hub would like to wish the following businesses, individuals, and community groups a very Merry Christmas and look forward to continuing our partnerships in the coming year:
And the other myriad of agencies we have formed partnerships with over the course of the pandemic. Merry Christmas!
'Ready to deliver'
'Parcels of plenty'
'Preparing the deliveries'