During my time as President of the University of Leeds Men’s Association Football Club in 2018/19, I made it a priority to ensure the club went beyond getting involved in fundraising for charity. Lots of money gets donated to charities across the country, which is great, but what can be far more impactful is donating your time to a worthy cause.
While searching for a charity that supported homelessness in Leeds, I came across HOMED. I’d never heard of it before, despite it being an LUU society. I made contact with HOMED in January 2019. They explained they were struggling to maintain their Wednesday evening food distribution due to lack of resources. With Wednesday being the day we have socials at night, after BUCS fixtures in the day, it seemed a perfect slot for a group each week to get involved. A huge amount of our members expressed an interest to help out. Within a week or two, we’d begun working with HOMED weekly and have continued working with them this academic year.
The Wednesday evening food run is a walk via a planned route through the city centre that the charity put together. The route is designed to come across as many people living on the streets as possible.
We would bring 5 members each week who were guided on the walk by a couple of volunteers from HOMED. Usually, it’s lads that have had a home game. They’d prepare 4 portions of warm food that was simple yet popular. Other volunteers would bring extra food, hot drinks, disposable cutlery and some essential supplies when possible.
Everyone you come across is extremely grateful for your help, food donations and also for the opportunity to have a chat.
“Some of the more touching moments I’ve experienced has been when a homeless person tells you they’ve managed to get a bit of food earlier, but points you in the direction of a someone down the road who they think needs it more.”
We’ve currently got nearly 40 lads actively involved. Not everyone can attend each week but the large list makes the rota easy to organise. This ensures we’ve always got enough people available. This level of interest shows we can increase our involvement, not just with HOMED, but with other charities too.
Investing our time as a collective is a hugely efficient way to help Homed carry out their amazing work. This helps make the lives of the less fortunate a little bit easier.
It’s a fantastic way to integrate new members of the society into the spirit of the football club. Another notable benefit of our involvement is the inclusive social aspect it brings. Typical Wednesday night socials aren’t for everyone, but this provides another chance to get involved off the pitch.