The millionth recipient of a food parcel from the English Football League has said she felt “overwhelmed” to be included in the initiative.
Sandie Gee-Husbands, a 32-year-old single mother from Nottingham, was presented with the parcel by Forest midfielder Ryan Yates on Thursday.
The EFL, working with clubs and local charities, has reached the seven-figure milestone as part of its initiatives to support people in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Gee-Husbands is a recently-qualified chef who lives in the Beeston area of the city with her 16-year-old daughter, and has been unable to work during the pandemic.
She said: “This is really overwhelming and I’m extremely grateful.
“The last year has been extremely tough. I lost my job, lost my income and nearly lost my home.
“I got another job when lockdown eased a little bit and then I got put on furlough.
“It’s not good but I try not to let it show that I struggle.”
Ms Gee-Husbands has been supported regularly by the Hope Centre in Nottingham, which nominated her for the EFL donation.
She said: “I look after my neighbour downstairs who’s a 70-year-old woman, so I can’t go out much.
“I don’t want to put myself or her, or my daughter, at risk so I can’t really even go out for a loaf of bread or some milk.
“The parcels are like a godsend. They’re everything I need for two weeks. They’re brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t ask for a better support mechanism.”
Ms Gee-Husbands, a Forest fan, was also given a shirt signed by the squad by Yates.
“I knew he was coming but it was still a surprise to see him,” she said. “I was a bit overwhelmed and a bit nervous.”
Yates was pleased to be involved in the initiative, which was co-ordinated by the Nottingham Forest Community Trust.
The 23-year-old said: “When we come to places like this and put a smile on people’s faces, like Sandie’s, it’s absolutely massive.
“We’re so privileged to be professional footballers and to have been able to work through this pandemic. We need to do as much as we can to help during this period.”
Working with clubs such as Forest, the EFL has also delivered more than 170,000 items of personal protective equipment and 22,000 prescriptions.
Graham Moran, chief executive of the NFCT, said: “The football club, from the owner and the board down to the Trust, we have massive community engagement, so to be part of this is brilliant.
“Being able to do it on this scale, in such a collaborative way, has been really good and it’s shown the positive side of football, that it does have a heart.
“It has been a really great antidote to some of the stuff that has been happening.”