In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, communities across the world have banded together to provide support to those who need it most. With major sporting events cancelled in the wake of coronavirus, sports clubs and their athletes have found themselves with extra time on their hands, and have turned to charity to fill it. Given the dire circumstances we have found ourselves in, various clubs and sportspeople have used this newfound free time to dedicate themselves to good deeds in an attempt to make the increasingly chaotic world a better place.
A huge issue that comes with self-isolation is the problem of loneliness. People who are used to being surrounded by crowds suddenly find themselves with their own thoughts for company. Heartbreakingly, elderly citizens who relied on trips to the shops as their only form of contact have had that small interaction stripped away, leaving them lonelier than ever. In response to this, Wasps Rugby Club have offered phone calls to the most vulnerable in their #MakeThatCall charity initiative, providing a listening ear to those starved of vital human connections.
Wilfried Zaha matched the altruistic gesture and was joined in his generosity by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville
With the Premier League cancelled until further notice, football clubs have also responded with their hopes to help combat the crisis. NHS staff have received their due appreciation across the nation for the vital work they’re doing to save lives, and Chelsea Football Club have responded accordingly. They recently offered their support, by making the club’s Millennium hotel available as accommodation for the healthcare staff working in London.
In an Instagram post from the club, they acknowledged the importance of supporting NHS staff, highlighting that “local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time”. Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha matched the altruistic gesture and was joined in his generosity by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who both offered their properties as temporary accommodation for medical workers in need.
Businesses have suffered significantly as a result of the lockdowns implemented across the world, with job security at threat and incomes thrown into jeopardy. With the NBA (National Basketball Association) having to preemptively put a hiatus on the season, various clubs have pledged to compensate stadium workers who have lost hours as a result of closures. In supporting the employees who work behind the scenes, these clubs have undoubtedly put many of these families’ minds at rest and have spent their budget on potentially saving their employees from tragic circumstances.
Shahid Afridi gave out daily essentials including food, sanitizing products and soap to workers who were struggling to make ends meet
Various homeless charities have put out calls for donations as a panic buying frenzy seized the country, meaning the number of food parcels and other essentials being dropped off to these charities dropped drastically. After a fixture was postponed, Aston Villa FC donated the huge amount of match day food that would otherwise go to waste to homeless charities, reminding us of the importance of supporting those who remain vulnerable through these times of crisis.
Across the globe, India’s former cricket captain Shahid Afridi gave out daily essentials including food, sanitizing products and soap to workers who were struggling to make ends meet as a result of businesses being shut across the country. In the face of preventative national closures to attempt to control the virus, the Bangladeshi cricket team pledged half of their wages to support those most in need, a collective donation of almost £25,000 to charity.
While it doesn’t raise money for any causes, we all need a bit of light relief in these trying circumstances
Alongside these charitable donations, a whole host of athletes have joined in social media initiatives aimed to bring online communities together. The #StayAtHomeChallenge has taken over Instagram stories and athletes have recorded their own contributions, with big names from Lionel Messi to Marcus Rashford giving it a go. While it doesn’t raise money for a charity, we all need a bit of light relief in these trying circumstances and sports stars taking part spreads the message vital to getting over this virus: stay at home.
Sport is often cited as a way for the world to unite, a universal language that fans can communicate in without translation. In these charitable endeavours, sports clubs and athletes are setting the example for how we should all be acting in these dire times.
As such, the acts of charity that the world of sport is engaging in right now is a good thing to consider emulating (within your own means), and is worth a thought when you set out on your next state-approved walk of the day.