VIDEO: Footy for Food event kicks off in Sheffield

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Football fans took to the pitch to enjoy a kickabout in Sheffield city centre in exchange for food parcels which could save lives.

Members of the public turned up to play football at the Footy for Food event after donating non-perishables destined for Sheffield food banks.

Richard Loat with Chris Hardy, manager Sheffield S6 Food Bank.

Richard Loat with Chris Hardy, manager Sheffield S6 Food Bank.

FFF, a non-profit organisation, stopped off on Fargate as part of a 10 city, 10 day tour around the UK.

Richard Loat, founder and chief executive of FFF, said it was as much about raising awareness of food banks as generating supplies for them.

Five-Hole for Food, a hockey-themed tour in Canada – also run by Richard – has raised more than 250,000kg of goods for its local food banks in the past four years.

He said: “Footy for Food is all about communities, volunteers and individuals coming together to help support food banks through football.

“Food banks are a vital service but need all the support they can get and that’s where FFF is trying to help.

“Food banks have only been around in the UK for around for 15 years, but in North America they’ve been around for 50 years.

“It’s easy for people to come and play.”

Chris Hardy, manager of Sheffield S6 Food bank – run by The Trussell Trust – on Gilpin Street, Upperthorpe, said: “It’s great that we are raising awareness of food banks and the situations people find themselves in.

“We have seen quite a few people here who are struggling and need a food bank themselves.

“We’re also trying to get business involved so they can take collections into their offices.”

Chris said they were dealing with around a tonne and a half of food every week.

“We got people right across the spectrum coming for help – families, single people and people with addictions.

“It’s not just single people who are struggling, it’s about families.”