FC United’s FoodHub, which has operated without a break since March in response to the covid19 crisis, worked hard last week to convert the pallets from the Diwali Basket Brigade’s donation into food parcels to be distributed with the regular weekly deliveries, and the FoodHub team were joined by FC United squad members Dan Cockerline and Josh Brooks. They gave their time to join the regular volunteers in a production line to assemble the contents of the bags of food and gifts that were donated by the Diwali Basket Brigade. The FoodHub was the joint first food bank (along with one in Salford) outside Birmingham to partner with the Diwali Basket Brigade project. They contacted us after they were impressed by the work we were doing, which they saw on BBC’s The One Show feature during the first lockdown. Deepak Parekh, the founder of the Diwali Basket Brigade, started the project to provide food hampers to socially deprived or vulnerable households from all faiths and backgrounds in the UK during the time of Diwali, the Festival of Light. Reflecting on the partnership with FC United this year, he said: “During these challenging times, the number of families living in food poverty has sadly increased. Diwali Basket Brigade is our small collective effort to spread some joy, hope and happiness through the gifting of food hampers to families and individuals in need living in Manchester. This would not have been possible without the support of the team at FC United’s community Food Hub who have worked in such a collaborative manner with us to deliver our joint mission to help fight food poverty.” Just some of the product kindly supplied by the Diwali Basket Brigade, which were then made up into bags containing a large mix of food including canned vegetables, pasta, Bombay Mix, Dairy Milk chocolate and many other top quality items. With the current lack of footballing activities, Dan Cockerline from the first team squad volunteered his time to assist in crating the food parcels. Dan said: “It was eye opening helping out at the Food Hub, putting together food packages for those who really need it over Diwali, the festival of light. I was able to speak to volunteers who help out regularly and hear about what they do for a lot of people in the community. It touches and helps so many people and I will definitely be involved more regularly to help Vinny and all the hard-working people involved”. Josh Brooks from the youth team squad also helped on the production line, having gone out of his way on public transport to get to the ground on the day. He said: "Helping out at the Food Hub was a new experience for me, one that was eye opening, but enjoyable too. Speaking to people there you see how much the club means to them and how much the club is as the heart of the local community, so the chance to give something back was important for me. As a young person, seeing the food and Christmas toys and knowing the impact and difference it would make to local people made me feel proud to be involved, something I want to do more of in the future." Both players have already offered to volunteer their time at the FoodHub again, and the regular volunteers commented on how well they slotted into the team. The Diwali bags went out with the regular deliveries last week and the extra items were well received by individuals and families. The Diwali Basket Brigade have kindly said that any food and gifts that remain can be used in our Christmas Comforts campaign which will be launched soon. FC United’s food hub extend their gratitude to the Basket Brigade for the incredibly generous donations and are excited for future partnerships with the organisation, who have shown that great things happen when people work together to help other people. Please click here if you are able to help in any way (helping in the hub during the week / cash or food donation etc ) - thank you Pictured are a few of the people we help each week, receiving their Diwali Brigade Gift bags alongside their normal supplies of fresh fruit and veg, meat, bakery, and other provisions we provide thanks to the generosity of the volunteers and all who donate supplies to the FC United FoodHub.