£2,974,000 has been donated so far to support charities working to tackle challenges made more acute by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a last push to raise £26,000 more and reach £3 million, The Times and The Sunday Times are calling for final donations to the appeal, which is open until January 31.
Launched at the end of last year, the duo’s Christmas Appeal vowed to help three charities: FareShare, Sported and Tusk.
So far more than six million extra meals will be served to hungry children and adults, more than 700 youth clubs will be saved from closure and thousands of endangered animals will be protected from poachers thanks to the generosity of readers of The Times and The Sunday Times.
More than £1.66 million has been donated to FareShare, which rescues surplus food that would otherwise be thrown out by farms, factories and retailers, distributing it to almost 11,000 school breakfast clubs, homeless shelters and other community groups, which footballer Marcus Rashford described as an “amazing” amount.
To sported, more than £612,000 has been, which keeps 2,600 youth clubs afloat by providing free support with their fundraising, governance, training and administration. The clubs use sport to help disadvantaged young people build confidence, gain skills and get their lives on track.
The appeal funds will help Sported provide extra support to all its clubs, focusing first on “emergency” assistance for the 600 clubs at greatest risk of closure. It will also allow them to recruit 150 new groups, helping another 10,000 children.
Nicola Walker, Sported’s chief executive, said: “The Times and The Sunday Times have done a brilliant job shining a light on the work these volunteers do and the impact on young people. It will really help a sector that has been rocked by the pandemic and the moral support will have a long-lasting impact.”
More than £570,000 has been donated to help Tusk protect endangered species across Africa, often by helping struggling human communities to survive without the need to kill wild animals. Appeal funds will help Tusk provide extra support to 60 innovative projects across 20 African countries.
The funds will help pay for GPS tracking collars to be fitted to three extra lion prides in Botswana to assist farmers keeping their livestock safe, cover the costs of three field officers and 15 vehicles to save carnivores from hunters in Zambia and protect seven vulture colonies in South Africa.
Charlie Mayhew, the chief executive of Tusk, commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the support,”. He added that it would provide “an all-important lifeline” to those working “on the frontline of conservation”.