Captain Martyn Evans, Chaplain of the Coventry Salvation Army hostel, has admitted that some sports teams use donations to charity as PR work, despite the importance and positive impact that food donations can have to those that rely on shelters.
With an estimated 280,000 homeless people in the UK, that number rising every year for the past five years and approximately 2,000 with no place to sleep at night in Coventry alone, sports clubs could assist the local communities more than they currently are.
Evans, who runs shelters that help over 100 people at a time, revealed that only Wasps Rugby Football Club and Bristol City have given donations towards his hostel, he claimed:
“Sometimes it’s definitely a PR stunt but I think people forget that homelessness is 365 days a year and not just at Christmas.”
The shelter received a delivery from the Robins foundation courtesy of Matt Parsons, Operations Manager at the football club. His idea involves giving local hostels the leftover food from hotels the club use for away matches.
Despite this, Bristol City remain the only football team to help out the charity in the midlands with the club doing their fair share, delivering to over 20 charities across various cities in England since the inception of the scheme during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
The donation, which took place on Saturday, November 6, included meals with chicken and vegetables, salmon and vegetables, chicken and noodles, plain vegetables and apple crumble. ParkLife Sport also understands that four unnamed players were present at the delivery.
The effect that such a donation can have is indescribable, “it would have positive impact because somebody might not have eaten that day” Evans said, “just because they haven’t got their money to eat, and they wouldn’t want to come to us and ask for a food parcel.
With this in mind, the actions of charities are vital and support from large organisations will have a huge impression on struggling communities. It isn’t a measure to be toyed with an taken lightly, a matter that Evans disclosed he thinks does happen.
“It gets to Christmas and people want to do more good deeds so they say ‘I’m going to give and donate things to you’ whereas in summer we always struggle with sun-cream for example, and bottled water.”
If you wish to help the Coventry Salvation Army you can visit their webpage at https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/coventry-city, phone them on 02476 552 183 or email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact the Salvation Army’s headquarters via:
Phone: (020) 7367 4500
Letter: The Salvation Army UK and Republic of Ireland Territorial Headquarters
101 Newington Causeway