Sunderland AFC shows support for Christmas Present Appeal

published on 10 Dec 2021

The Angel Tree at Sunderland
The Salvation Army Angel Trees

The Salvation Army will receive vital funds to help the vulnerable across the North East this Christmas as part of a Sunderland AFC fundraiser.

The football club and its official charity Foundation of Light, which already helped raise more than £200,000 for Sunderland charities including The Salvation Army during the pandemic, have joined forces with supporters’ groups Red and White Army, Sunderland Branch Liaison Council and Senior Supporters Association to launch the ‘Five for Five’ campaign. 

‘Five for Five’ is aiming to raise £5,000 for five local charities to support vital services across the region

Sunderland AFC have dedicated the EFL League One match against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday 11 December to the campaign. There will be food bank collections in the Beacon of Light Fan Zone and in Roker End Café, and The Salvation Army Band will play Christmas carols in front of Stadium Reception and in the Fan Zone between 12pm and 2.30pm.


Graham Wharton at the Sunderland Academy of Light
Graham Wharton, who runs the community programme at Southwick, outside the Academy of Light (Sunderland training ground)

Graham Wharton, Community Manager at Southwick Community Project and a Sunderland AFC fan, said: “We’ve already seen what a difference the club and its fans can make to helping the vulnerable in Sunderland after they raised around £50,000 for us earlier this year.

“We are delighted that they are supporting us again. This will help raise vital funds to support our Christmas Present Appeal, providing toys and food to families who are struggling to put food on the table or pay their heating bill, let alone buy Christmas presents. We believe every child deserves a new gift at Christmas and this will help us make that happen.

“We also look forward to spreading some festive cheer at the stadium on Saturday. Christmas doesn’t begin until you’ve heard a Salvation Army band!”

'Five for Five’ will also support Sunderland Foodbank, Washington Mind and Veterans in Crisis Sunderland. 

We believe every child deserves a new gift at Christmas and this will help us make that happen.
Graham Wharton

Steve Davison, Sunderland AFC’s chief operating officer said: “Five for Five is a fantastic initiative by the supporters' groups and the Foundation. Once again, our fans have shown that they will support each other, and those in need, when it matters most. 

"I would encourage supporters to give what they can. Just £1 will make a difference to local lives and help to ensure that thousands of people across the region get the support they need." 

Andrew Hird, Chair of the Red and White Army added: "I am proud that the Sunderland football community is coming together to support these five fantastic causes through the Five for Five campaign. Each is working hard to support vulnerable and isolated parts of the community to ensure they are safe and well.” 

The Salvation Army also has Angel Trees in place at the home of Foundation of Light - Beacon of Light, Black Cat House (Sunderland AFC staff offices) and in the Academy of Light (Sunderland AFC training ground). People can take an angel from the Christmas tree and donate a present.

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