This is how it feels to be Celtic . . .
As we come to the close of one of the most memorable and enjoyable Celtic seasons in recent times and the party gets into full swing, Celtic supporters have an opportunity to remember and re-connect with the very cause for which our club was founded almost 130 years ago.
Celtic Park will have yet another full house on Sunday, May 21, 2017 when Hearts come to visit and Brendan Rodgers’ team will be presented with the Scottish Premiership Trophy as Champions for season 2016-17. With the League Cup already in the bag and the possibility of a Treble with the Scottish Cup Final against Aberdeen the following weekend, and the 50th anniversary of being crowned Champions of Europe that week to boot, this could be the celebration to beat all celebrations.
That day, as has become an established feature on Trophy Day during this momentous 6-in-a-row run that we’re enjoying, Celtic FC Foundation will have volunteers outside every turnstile selling badges to help raise funds for the various projects they organise around the four key themes of improving Health, promoting Equality, encouraging Learning and tackling Poverty (HELP).
This great work that Celtic FC Foundation carries out echoes the very aims that our club was created to advance. The Poor Children’s Dinner Tables, the brainchild of Celtic’s founding father Brother Walfrid, operated in the parishes of Sacred Heart, St Mary’s and St Michael’s in Glasgow’s East End in the 1880s. A football club was the ideal vehicle to raise funds to sustain and expand the Dinner Tables, whose purpose was to encourage children to attend school by providing them with nourishing food that their families would struggle to provide, that way benefitting the entire community. As a flyer sent around the East End in late 1887 proclaimed: Many cases of sheer poverty are left unaided through lack of means. It is therefore with this principal object that we have set afloat the “Celtic”.
On May 21 you can contribute to the Celtic ideal and support the endeavours of Celtic FC Foundation through the simple act of buying a badge. In recent years, the different badge designs have proven popular and in 2016 an incredible £15,000 was raised by the Foundation through badge sales outside Celtic Park. The Foundation badge has become a badge of honour.
The work of the Foundation prioritises the north and east of the city of Glasgow but it spreads its efforts through Scotland, Ireland and the UK to the rest of the World, with an emphasis on Asia and Africa. It is a global effort that reflects the support that exists for Celtic throughout the world with the intention of converting that support into positive action to meet the Foundation’s objectives.
Celtic has always been about more than the sport of football. The club’s charitable origins are unique and events such as the Foundation’s Badge Day reinforce the importance of charity in the DNA of the club and the support.
On the day itself, you can help through the simple act of buying this year’s Foundation badge. Get it on to your scarf or your lapel; pass one on to family and friends (the kids love them!). Spread the message that Celtic is all about helping those who need it most: it was in the beginning and it remains true today.
And then, as you enter Paradise again on May 21, have this wee thought to yourself:
“This is how it feels to be Celtic . . .”