Coronavirus has got the country by the scruff of its neck, and sadly a crisis doesn't always bring out the best in humanity.
There seems to be no happy medium with the British public - people are either stockpiling toilet paper and preparing for the apocalypse, or happily whiling away the hours in the pub without a care in the world, as if coronavirus is just an argument with their other half that will blow over after a couple of pints and a packet of pork scratchings [note: do not go to the pub, the pubs are closed].
In the midst of doom and gloom, football would often offer the perfect distraction for 90 minutes, but Covid-19 has claimed that too. In the beautiful game's absence, clubs and players have stepped up and displayed their generosity to help those in need, and helping to restore our faith in humanity.
Helping the Homeless
Aston Villa kicked off the generosity when the Premier League was first suspended, by donating food that had been prepared for their match against Chelsea to homeless charities and housing shelters. In total, 850 packed lunches were given to local organisations.
850 staff packed lunches and hot food for tomorrow’s postponed game is being donated to support homeless charities.— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) March 13, 2020
If your organisation is interested and able to collect food from Villa Park by 4.30pm today, please contact the @AVFCFoundation on 0121 327 2299 ext 5700. #AVFC pic.twitter.com/qNHAsJfFff
Brighton then followed suit, as they announced food originally intended for hospitality lounges and retail kiosks would instead be donated to Sussex Homeless Support, which provides food for local night shelters and soup kitchens.
Manchester City also donated surplus food from their their postponed games against Arsenal and Burnley to local charities, including community cafes and churches, while West Ham donated the toiletries that they would have used for their postponed game against Watford to a local homeless shelter.
Food Bank Donations
After the Merseyside derby was postponed, Everton donated 635kg of fruit and vegetables, 136 litres of milk, 65 litres of cream and 360 eggs to the North Liverpool Food Bank, while neighbours Liverpool donated over £40,000 plus excess food from Anfield and their Melwood training ground
Manchester City and Manchester United have donated a combined £100,000 to help food banks in Greater Manchester meet increased demand from vulnerable people as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic https://t.co/J4R6ao5nNy— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 21, 2020
Similarly, both Manchester clubs have put their differences aside by donating a combined £100,000 to food banks in Greater Manchester.
Norwich and Newcastle also all made substantial food donations to their local food banks, while Burnley's players made a cash donation which was matched by the club.
West Ham captain Mark Noble donated the money he received for his columns in the Evening Standard this season to a local food bank.
Stockport County Donate to NHS
Despite finding themselves in a precarious financial position which has only been worsened by the absence of ticket money thanks to the coronavirus, Stockport County donated £75,000 to the NHS Trust.
Stockport County have donated £75,000 to the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund, to help towards the treatment of Coronavirus patients within the local community in these difficult times.https://t.co/goXb0i34Lx— Stockport County (@StockportCounty) March 20, 2020
The National League side's owner Mark Stott donated the money to help pay for equipment to treat patients with severe coronavirus symptoms.
Supporting the Vulnerable
Everton, Watford and Brighton have all launched schemes to tackle loneliness during the epidemic.
The Toffees aim to deliver food parcels and offer mental health support for the most vulnerable in the community, the Hornets are recruiting volunteers to help elderly and disabled supporters with day-to-day tasks, and the Seagulls are offering to phone elderly supporters to stave off loneliness during isolation.
Women's Footballers Offer a Hand
Manchester City defender Aoife Mannion reached out on Twitter, offering to help out with grocery shopping for anyone with elderly relatives. Despite currently recovering from a season-ending ACL injury, Mannion was still happy to pop to Asda for anyone in need.
Hi anyone out of town concerned about their elderly relatives accessing grocery stores for their food shop in the central Manchester area, DM me maybe I can help.— Aoife Mannion (@aoifemannion_) March 13, 2020
Chelsea's Millie Bright offered to do the same, going the extra mile by also adding that she could help out with pets, while West Ham's Gilly Flaherty offered to drive people's elderly relatives to the supermarket.
The coronavirus has led to numerous people losing their jobs or no longer being offered shifts as the country begins to self-isolate.
With football completely suspended, staff at football clubs looked set to become the first employment casualties.
However, Brighton immediately agreed to pay their match day staff - over 600 individuals - in full until the end of the season. Crystal Palace have also pledged to pay all staff in full during the outbreak.
Free Hotels for NHS Workers
Both Gary Neville and Chelsea have opened up their hotels to NHS staff for free during the epidemic.
Neville owns two hotels in Manchester, offering 176 free beds for NHS workers, while the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge will also provide accommodation for medical staff, with owner Roman