MORE than half a ton of food - equating to around 1,300 meals - has been collected at Barnsley Football Club matches through the Reds’ foodbank appeal.

The club, Reds in the Community and the Barnsley Foodbank Partnership will once again join forces for their fourth collection after the international break.

Barnsley’s crunch match against Reading, to be held on Saturday April 2, will be the host of the collection where donations of food and essentials will be accepted.

As the cost of living continues to rise to record highs, the most vulnerable in the town’s community are at risk of ‘falling into multiple disadvantage’, according to bosses.

Reds in the Community chief executive officer, Paul France, is encouraging fans to bring along one or two items so they can smash their combined effort from the first three appeals.

“This will be the fourth Reds Against Hunger collection held at Oakwell Stadium, and we hope to make this one the biggest so far.

“We launched the campaign just before Christmas to help support those in need over the festive period.

“We have so far collected 548.5kg of food, which equates to providing 1,306 meals to people in need.

“If every supporter coming to the match against Reading would bring one or two items each, we would comfortably beat the combined total for the first three collections.

“That is our aim because sadly, that is the scale of the need.

“Please help to spread the message and encourage al Reds to bring along a few tins of food.

“It will make a huge difference to another Red in Barnsley.”

Fans are asked to bring some of the following items to the game to support the cause - long-life milk, dilute, rice, custard, tinned fish, tinned potatoes, jam, rice pudding, toothpaste, tooth brushes and shampoo.

Between March 2020 and December 2021, Barnsley Foodbank Partnership fed more than 12,000 people - almost 4,500 of those were children under 16.

Georgina Arnold, client support at the foodbank, added: “Barnsley Foodbank Partnership has seen the need for food parcels rising ever since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we start to trickle out of the pandemic, we are now seeing the effect of bill rises, universal credit changes and the cost of living going up.

“Reds Against Hunger is such an amazing initiative and helps our food bank greatly with donations, awareness and support.

“We have already done a handful of successful collections, partnering with Reds in the Community and Barnsley FC, with both monetary and food donations coming in from the generous fans.

“We’re so grateful for the support from the whole team at the club.”

The collection point will be situated outside the main box office from 1.30pm on the day of the game.

For anyone not able to attend the Reading fixture, collection points will be available from Monday at the club reception and the Reds in the Community reception in the indoor training centre.