Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has donated £15,000 to the appeal while both Warburtons and Greggs were also quick to pledge their support, following Ashley’s heartfelt plea for the community to come together and fight child poverty.

There’s been sizeable public donations, including food, and the North Riding FA have offered staff support to assist with food parcel deliveries.

In addition, Kindred, MFC’s Principal Partner, who handed the Foundation naming rights on the club’s new anniversary shirt which was worn at Cardiff on Saturday, are donating more of their advertising rights in the hope of raising additional funds.

Ashley Fletcher's message to fight child poverty

“The support we’ve had has been absolutely amazing,” said Ashley Fletcher.

“The Foundation were already committing to providing 1,000 meals, but this has gone way beyond that now, and it’s fantastic the way people have come together to help in this way.

“This isn’t a problem that will vanish overnight. We want to help families right across region, and make a real difference, and the support we’ve had so far has been overwhelming.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen who was quick to support the appeal after hearing Ashley's words, said: “I’ve always said that we can only ever be as prosperous as the least fortunate in our communities.

"If we want our area to improve then we need to make it a place where everyone can succeed. That’s easier said than done and given the crisis we’re in it’s even more difficult.

"We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Businesses are struggling and we’re seeing people lose their jobs - especially those who are lowest paid.

"In a time of major crisis it’s obvious that we should support our most vulnerable children, which is why I’m using the powers I have at my disposal and I’m proud to be funding this amazing scheme with MFC Foundation.

"This project that will feed 1,000 of the most vulnerable children in our area and it is only part of a much wider movement, where we have seen people and businesses across our area step up and do their bit, despite being in difficult circumstances themselves.”

Anyone wishing to support the campaign can donate money to the MFC Foundation appeal here or text to donate

Text FREESCHOOLMEALS 5 to 70460 to donate £5. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message.
Text FREESCHOOLMEALS 10 to 70460 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message.
Text FREESCHOOLMEALS 15 to 70460 to donate £15. Texts cost £15 plus one standard rate message.
Every penny received will go directly to provide food parcels for our region.