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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Newcastle United Footballer Allan Saint-Maximin has donated a four-figure sum to the city’s West End Foodbank

The star of St Jame’s Park was touched by the plight of some of the most vulnerable people on Tyneside. His help will feed more than 2,000 families at what is a busy time of year for the foodbank based in Benwell.

The 24-year-old offered the money after being put in contact with a fan selling face masks to raise crucial cash for the charity.

Business consultant Ash Vedhara set up the ‘Mask Project’ in 2020 to sell face coverings online in a bid to generate funds for the foodbank. As the young Frenchman was his business associate, he suggested he might like to buy some masks for the people attending an event he was holding.

Ash said: “I told him the masks he had bought were going to help feed 40 families for a week and he said; ‘Really? Wow, that’s amazing.’

“He bought the masks last week and I dropped them off for him.”

It seems Allan brought some money to pay for the masks – way more than they actually cost. When this was pointed out he told Ash to keep the money and use it to help more people across the area.

Ash confirmed through buying the masks and making a donation, which will be matched by owner Jamie Reuben, Saint-Maximin will help to feed around 2,000 people in the city.

CEO of the food bank John McCorry told Asian standard: “We are absolutely delighted by the donation and I should point out on the day Allan signed for the club he came down to the foodbank to talk to staff and volunteers and even help out. He himself had things tough at one time in France and was very empathetic to the plight of some of the families we serve.

“We have a great relationship with the club and actually have collections at every home game – there’s an arm of the food bank attached to St Jame’s, and the fans I have to say have been very generous. The new owners deserve full praise for the role they’ve taken in this, and it’s something we’ll continue to run with. In fact, several other players at the club have been really helpful.

The West End Foodbank in Newcastle has an arm at St Jame’s Park home of Newcastle United. Image: Courtesy of West End Foodbank

“We do a lot of work in the Islamic sector and are based in one of the most culturally diverse areas of the city. But we help all manner of families from South Asian backgrounds generally and would encourage anyone facing difficulty to pay us a visit.

John says it cost more than £300,000 each year to run the foodbank and each basic food parcel they send out is worth around £32. It’s a sobering thought to take in but of the many thousands of clients they help feed each year – 40 per cent are children living in poverty.

He added: “Naturally after Christmas donations fall away and we appreciate all the help we can get. In fact, anyone interested in helping out can get more information from our website.”

This foodbank is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

For more information – to donate or volunteer go to: www.newcastlewestend.foodbank.org.uk


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