Hundreds of Brewers fans got into the spirit of giving on Saturday's match against Preston North End, offering up countless tins for the Burton Mail's Feed Our Families appeal.
As 2017's drive for donations enters its final week, volunteers from the Burton Mail, YMCA, Salvation Army and the Eaton Foundation headed to the Pirelli Stadium to collect donations from football fans.
The Feed Our Families campaign is aimed at making sure as many people as possible have enough food to eat over the festive period. This year's campaign will benefit four charities: Burton YMCA, South Derbyshire Council for Voluntary Services, Burton's Salvation Army and the Eaton Foundation.
Fans brought their tins to the Pirelli Stadium after Burton Albion chairman Ben Robinson backed the Mail's campaign and put out a plea for Brewers supporters to bring some tins to the match. He said he was delighted that the club was again supporting the campaign and added that fans have been "incredibly generous" in the past.
More than a dozen volunteers from the Burton Mail, YMCA, South Derbyshire CVS, Salvation Army and the Eaton Foundation were on hand to collect donations from people.
The charities were astounded with the amount of food donated by fans as they headed into the stadium.
Tom Foster from the YMCA said: "We are so pleased with the response. Burton people are very generous by nature and we are so thankful for that. It's great to have all the charities working together for this great cause."
Joining Tom was Glen Dunkerley, a service user at the YMCA.
He said: "I'm helping out because I want to say thank you to the YMCA.
"Things like this are what helped me when I moved out at 16. They supported me a great deal and anything I can do to help others, I am more than willing to do."
Donations were loaded into the back of the YMCA's van, before being split four ways for each charity to take back their share. The food will be put into the food banks run by each of the groups, ready to distribute to people in need and make sure they can put food on the table this Christmas.
Jeanette Webster from the CVS said: "I've been volunteering for almost two years and I've seen the impact that things like this can have on people.
"It could be any of us tomorrow. That's why a lot of us volunteer; nobody can predict the future and the more people that can help, the better.
"Knowing that you can help people in need is a fabulous feeling and it is really good to be a part of a campaign like Feed Our Families."
It is the first year that the Salvation Army and Eaton Foundation have benefited from the campaign and both charities are looking forward to being able to help more people off the back of generous donations from Burton Mail readers.
Paul Ellis from Burton's Salvation Army said: "We're really grateful for all of the donations. Any food that we have ready for emergency food parcels is welcome.
"We often have calls from people needing emergency food parcels so we need food to fill them."
Sophia Hemmings and Katrina Goodwin from the Eaton Foundation were also on hand to collect donations of tins and dried packet food. Sophia said: "There are a lot of people in the area in need and we want to do whatever we can to help.
"We've had several referrals just this week and it is horrible to see how many people there are in Burton struggling to find something to eat. Anything we can do to help, we are doing."
Katrina added: "It's horrible to think that there are people who have nothing. I feel guilty having a roof over my head and enjoying Christmas when I know there are people out there with nothing to eat and nowhere to call home when it gets cold."
Brewers fans were certainly feeling generous, bringing bags full of donations in the lead-up to the game.
Christine and Elizabeth Evans came to the match to celebrate Elizabeth's 40th birthday, but made sure not to forget their tins.
Christine said: "We thought we would come down with a few bits of food to help other people. We're in the situation that we can help, and so we do.
"We're the lucky ones; we have the money to go to a football match on a Saturday afternoon. Not everyone can do that."
Joe Taylor, from Burton, said: "Well if I’ve got stuff sitting in my cupboards that hasn’t been touched, it’s doing nothing there so it might as well go to somebody who is going to appreciate it. I think with the time of year as well, everybody feels a bit more giving and willing to help out."
John Appleby said: "I always bring a few boxes of cereal. I have done it every year. I think a box of cereal and a bit of milk can do a lot of meals for people and it will help to keep families full.
"You can also add a little chocolate in and make treats for the little ones - that's what Christmas is all about."
Feed Our Families is a campaign run by the Burton Mail to help local food banks feed families in Burton and South Derbyshire who may have fallen on hard times in the run-up to the festive period.
Last year was the Burton Mail's most successful campaign ever, with 15,000 food items feeding around 1,000 across the area over Christmas.
Supermarkets across Burton and South Derbyshire have been particularly quick to back the campaign, and offer convenient drop-off points for food items while a number of businesses and venues have also been quick to offer up their support, too.
Collection points will welcome any non-perishable foods that can be easily stored by the charities and then handed out over the festive season. Beans and soup tend to be the most commonly given, so alternative options to those are particularly welcome.
To organise a collection you can get in touch with any of the charities. To contact the YMCA call 01283 547133, or to speak to the Eaton Foundation call 01283 568341. You can get in touch with the Salvation Army by calling 07514 666759 or the Swadlincote CVS on 01283 219761.
How can you donate to Feed Our Families?
For many people Christmas is a happy time, but for some it can be anything but.
A few pounds could be the difference between a family in need eating or going hungry. Just 50p could buy a tin of soup, and help keep a child warm and fed.
So where can you donate? We are appealing for people to pop one extra tin in their weekly shop and donate that. Of course, if you can afford more that would be brilliant.
There will be drop-off points at Burton in Sainsbury's, in Union Street, and Sainsbury's, in Civic Way, Swadlincote, with many more businesses soon expected to get involved.
If you are a pupil at a local school, check if there is a donation point there and if not, ask your teachers to get your school involved.
Punch Taverns is backing the campaign, as are schools including Granville Academy and Paulet High School.
We want you, our generous readers, to also donate, whether that be setting up a collection point at your youth club or in the pub. If you want to get involved, please contact reporter Rhea Turner on 01283 245047 or email email@example.com
And over the next few weeks we will bringing you stories of everyone who donates.
Editor Emma Turton calls for readers to back Feed Our Families
"After the incredible success of last year's Feed Our Families appeal it was a no-brainer that the Burton Mail would launch and run it again for 2017.
"We know finances are still tight for a lot of our readers, so we are not asking people for money or to dig too deep for the appeal: instead we are asking our readers to buy an extra tin or packet of food when they do their weekly shopping and drop it in to one of the collection points.
"We want to make sure the food banks in Burton and South Derbyshire have plenty of produce this Christmas, ready to be handed out to the people in our community who really need it this festive season.
"The response last year was phenomenal, the charities which shared the donations were overwhelmed with the generosity of our readers: we hope to match or beat last year when more than 15,000 items were donated.
"Already we have several schools, supermarkets and major employers in Burton and South Derbyshire on board.
"They have offered to set up donation boxes or run a donation day to boost the campaign.
"It really is fantastic to see, yet no surprise."
"I want to thank, in advance, every single reader who donates to make sure the most needy in our communities have food in their cupboards and no their table this Christmas."
What can I donate to Feed Our Families?
For those of you who have made the generous decision to give something to the needy this Christmas, you may be a bit unsure of just what the food banks are after to get the most out of the foods. Therefore we have produced a list of non-perishable items that will be gratefully received.
Items which you can donate:
- UHT milk (500ml or 1 litre cartons or screw top bottles)
- Breakfast cereal
- Tinned meals
- Tinned meat for Irish stew, chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese, ravioli, macaroni cheese
- Tinned hot dogs
- Minced beef, curry, meatballs, etc
- Tinned pies
- Corned beef
- Tinned or packet vegetables
- Tinned fruit
- Tinned tuna, salmon, sardines, etc
- Baked beans
- Spaghetti hoops
- Pasta sauce
- Savoury rice
- Pot Noodles
- Rice pudding
- Cereal bars