December 25 is just around the corner, and as Celtic FC Foundation’s Christmas Appeal nears its conclusion, we round-off our spotlight series looking at the vital work of poverty relief charity, Loaves and Fishes.
For over 30 years, Loaves and Fishes has worked tirelessly to combat poverty across Greater Glasgow, initially operating as a soup kitchen feeding the homeless community from the back of a van before expanding to become a regular feeding programme. In the present day, the organisation exists as a foodbank service, ensuring those facing extreme poverty have access to food and essentials.
A long-standing beneficiary of Celtic FC Foundation’s Annual Christmas Appeal, Loaves and Fishes acts as a lifeline for some of society’s most vulnerable people. Denis Curran, Chairman of Loaves and Fishes, outlined the importance of the Foundation’s support over the years, saying: “Celtic FC Foundation’s support has long been a contributor to our nightly meals programme (currently suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions), making sure homeless people, who would otherwise go without food, get something to eat.
“For a number of years, the Foundation kindly provided the necessary resources to make sure we could run this service during the winter. Last year, the Foundation’s support meant that we were able to run this offering for a full year, as well as giving us a huge load of toys for disadvantaged children – it was absolutely tremendous.”
Like many other organisations, Loaves and Fishes has faced an immensely difficult year, owing to a sharp rise in demand following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions. Denis outlined these challenges, saying: “Over the period, we’ve had a 300% increase in demand for our services. This is an enormous ask, especially for a voluntary charity such as ours.
‘Thankfully, the exposure and promotion we receive from Celtic FC Foundation has helped with food donations.’
“It makes a huge difference as demand for food is constant, and given the nature of our work, running out of supplies is simply not an option.”
The winter months are typically very busy for Loaves and Fishes, and Denis outlined how the charity is working harder than ever to make sure no one is left behind over the festive period. He added: “We usually distribute food hampers with simple dry goods like teabags, instant coffee, biscuits and pasta. As accompaniment, we also provide a bag of essential toiletries and a selection box and a toy for families with young children.
“Trying to get all of this together is always a big ask. The numbers are high and it’s a lot of stuff to prepare, but we’re working with local partners and finding ways to adapt. At Loaves and Fishes, it’s really down to the determination of individuals and we’re hugely grateful for all the help we receive – we are here to put a smile on people’s faces.”
Celtic FC Foundation’s capacity to help organisations like Loaves and Fishes is completely dependent on the continual generosity of our supporters and the wider Celtic Family. Having witnessed the kindness of Celtic fans throughout the years, Denis spoke passionately about supporters’ prevailing willingness to help those less fortunate, saying : “Honestly, without their support, there are a few Christmases where we’d simply never have made it. The reality is, without these interventions, you’re looking at the possibility of kids waking up and having nothing on Christmas Day.
“People aren’t coming to us for something they don’t need – they come because they’re desperate. The Foundation’s help changes lives, it makes a difference and it gives people hope. I cannot thank them and the supporters enough.”
Through our Appeal we want to help hundreds of local families, giving them the kind of Christmas most of us take for granted. With lots of food on the table and gifts for the kids. Making sure Santa pays a visit on Christmas Eve, despite COVID-19.
We also want to support pensioners on our doorstep, by lending a hand at a difficult time of year. Local charities need our help too. We can make a massive difference to the lives of children, refugees, the homeless and those living in refuge.
Further details on the Christmas Appeal phase of the Football for Good Fund and how you can get involved, can be found HERE
The generosity and compassion of the Celtic Family is truly unique and unrivalled and we thank you for your magnificent support.