EFL Clubs continue to be at the heart of their communities, the power of football continues to be undeniable and the importance and influence of football and its Clubs continues to increase well beyond the 90 minutes on the pitch.
When a national lockdown was placed on the United Kingdom in March 2020 due to the outbreak of coronavirus, football stepped up to help those that needed it most. Clubs came together to collectively show that even with no football to be played, it remains at the heart of the community.
Seven months later, with the 2020/21 season in full flow behind closed doors, EFL Clubs once again stepped forward to help their local communities during October half-term, proving just how vital they are in their towns and cities.
Marcus Rashford’s appeal to make sure no child went hungry during half-term was answered impressively by EFL Clubs up and down the country, as they opened their doors to distribute thousands of free meals to children in need, despite going through tough times themselves.
Middlesbrough, who have already donated over 25,000 meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, provided a further 1,000 meals for children and have also raised almost £30,000 in their support of the battle to fight child poverty.
Following in the footsteps of his former Manchester United teammate Rashford, Boro striker Ashley Fletcher led the public appeals for local businesses to support MFC Foundation in the campaign.
Speaking to the club ahead of half-term week, Fletcher said: “The MFC Foundation has been delivering food parcels throughout the pandemic and has done an amazing job.
“What we need now is more support. Marcus Rashford has really led the way with this on a national basis, and as a football club we are determined to play our part on a local level by offering support where we can across Teeside.
“There are families that ned help on our own doorstep and we’re asking people to come forward and support the Foundation in tackling child poverty in our region."
In addition to Middlesbrough’s efforts last week, League One’s Burton Albion offered up to 100 packed lunches each day and, through the help of new EFL Trophy sponsor Papa John’s, were able to provide an extra treat for those families that turned up to collect lunch from the Pirelli Stadium; League Two side Crawley Town set up a next-day collection scheme where struggling families could email in and in doing so, would be provided with soup, a sandwich and a packet of crisps; Huddersfield Town provide a Breakfast Club, which has been running for eight years now, and through the support of fans and the community, has provided more than 1.75million free breakfasts for children. Portsmouth, Bradford City and many more were also among the Clubs to provide free packed lunches for vulnerable children.
Football continues to play its part in the community during what is a diffcult time for all, and that is something that it can be truly proud of.