Skip to main content

Santa's Red Helpers raise over £400,000 to support thousands of families

On 1st December 2020, Manchester United Foundation launched its Santa’s Red Helpers appeal, encouraging fans to follow the lead of staff and players to support vulnerable children and families this Christmas.

| by Communications

Over the month, the United effort has raised over £400,000, used to provide 7,000 gift packs and 80,000 meals for those in need over the winter period.

Most recently, 143 Manchester United Foundation and club staff and volunteers have driven 1,695 miles to deliver over 77,000 meals and hampers to 23 partner schools across Greater Manchester. The deliveries were made over three days using 10 articulated freezer lorries, supported by food wholesaler Bidfood, and 30 additional vehicles. Additional meals have been donated to local charities and foodbanks.

“Manchester United and the Foundation have been fabulous; I’m blown away,” said Leila Murton, deputy headteacher at Stretford High School. “Some of our families just haven’t been able to put food on the table or have lighting in their house, but this will make sure that families can have something for Christmas and students are fed over the holidays. It’s absolutely going to be a life-saver and I don’t say that lightly.”

Gift bags have also been distributed to local schools, charities and hospitals, plus 1,000 packs were delivered globally by club partner DHL to youth charities chosen by Manchester United Supporters’ Clubs. 

FareShare Greater Manchester once again supported the Foundation’s cause, by donating over 33 tonnes of food, which was turned into 80,000 meals by club chefs. This follows a previous collaboration with FareShare GM to provide 5,000 free school meals during the October half-term break.

Further external support was received from DK Publishing and Jaguar LandRover, who provided books and lunch boxes, as well as independent supporters’ group The Red Army, who raised funds for over 1,000 footballs to be distributed to children across Greater Manchester.

John Shiels, chief executive of Manchester United Foundation, has been at the forefront of the Foundation’s response, and most recently has supported with hand-deliveries to families most in need. He said: “Christmas is a very special time for lots of people, but is a very threatening time for others. 

“You could see by the looks on their [the families] faces what it meant to them. If you’ve got an empty shelf, but then you can fill it for a couple of days, that makes a massive difference.  Hopefully over this time, over Christmas and over the holidays, it’s made a huge difference, but what is more important is what we do next. 2021 may be just as difficult for some families but the Foundation will be here to support.”

Following a pledge of financial support from Manchester United players and club staff, the Santa’s Red Helpers campaign encouraged fans to donate where possible, to provide Christmas presents and food parcels for those who may otherwise go without. 


Thank you to all those who supported the Santa’s Red Helpers campaign, especially those who funded a Santa Sleigh of items for children and families. This includes Chivas, the Official Spirits Partner of Manchester United, and other businesses such as ATN International.

Click here to find out more about the campaign.