Saddlers players Brendan Kiernan and Stephen Ward handed out healthy food packs last week, as part of Walsall FC Community Programme’s Holiday and Food (HAF) provision.
The pair gave out healthy recipe packs to participants, containing ingredients and a recipe for two nutritious family meals each, as well as posing for photos with children on Walsall FCCP’s Summer Soccer Schools.
The HAF provision, funded by Walsall Council throughout the summer holidays, is part of a nationwide effort to tackle to the ‘holiday experience gap’ felt by disadvantaged children during the school holidays.
Following a campaign championed by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, government funding was made available. WFCCP’s eligible participants received a hot healthy meal for lunch every day, recipe packs at the end of each week, and experienced a day of football on the Soccer Schools.
Stephen Ward said: “It was great to come down and see the work the Community Programme are doing. I think first and foremost from the club’s point of view it’s a great thing to be helping out the local community and the local kids.
“It’s so important for children and their future that they get fed right and being able to provide nourishing and healthy meals for them is something we’re delighted to be a part of.”
Kiernan and Ward then visited the Glebe Centre in Walsall town centre, donating some of the left over supplies to the local food bank.
The extra food will now go to people in need who use the centre, as well as being distributed around other food banks around Walsall where the need is greatest.
Brendan Kiernan added: “It’s really good for the club to have a presence outside of just the football stadium and to get involved in the community.
“I think it’s important for us to come down and show that we care outside of football, by giving some food to people that need it, and make an impact in the local area.”
Martin Manley, Community Manager for Engagement, said: “We really enjoyed having a few of the players visit our activities and it was good to show Stephen and Brendan some of what Walsall FC Community Programme is all about.
“We’d like to thank everyone who has made the Holiday and Food provision such a success, from Walsall Council and Walsall Right 4 Children for funding the activities, to Midcounties Co-op for providing the recipe packs and Walsall FC for producing the hot lunch meals.
“There is a clear need for the HAF provision and we are looking forward to offering more holiday activities like this in the future.”