EVERTON hat-trick hero Steven Naismith is urging football fans to bring foodbank donations ahead of this Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Striker Naismith and Everton In The Community, the official charity of the Blues, have teamed up with We Shall Overcome, the non-political national group set up to fight austerity throughout the UK.

Ahead of Sunday’s kick-off they and The Whitechapel Centre will be hosting a foodbank appeal at Everton Free School, in Spellow Lane, Walton, from 11.30am.

Donations of food and toiletries will be used to replenish local supplies for families in need. Merseyside is the food bank capital of the UK and nationally it is believed around 13 million people live below the poverty line. From April 2014-March 2015 over 60,000 people were provided with three days of emergency food by The Trussell Trust’s foodbanks.

Donations of food and toiletries will be used to replenish local supplies for families in need.

Naismith said: “Foodbanks are now an ever present in our towns and cities and more people than ever are needing to access them. It would be fantastic if everyone who is coming to the game on Sunday could bring something to donate with them and together we can help Everton in the Community help as many people as possible.”

Rising costs of food and fuel, combined with static income, high unemployment and changes to the benefit systems, are causing more and more people to access food banks for help.

This weekend will see 135 towns and cities across the UK host We Shall Overcome events in aid of food banks and the homeless with 22 events taking place in Liverpool from 1-5 October including music gigs and an art auction. Entrance to each event is a minimum food or cash donation of £3 which will go to benefit local foodbanks, The Whitechapel Centre and The Brink.

Everton in the Community says it works all year round to tackle poverty and homelessness across the city with a number of initiatives which all aim to help those in need, including a homeless football project in partnership with the Whitechapel Centre to inspire and motivate individuals across Merseyside as well as hosting regular People’s Picnics at Goodison Park where local families in need are offered a hot meal and an evening of entertainment.

David Carter, CEO of The Whitechapel Centre, said: “The Whitechapel Centre provides breakfast every day of the year for people who have slept rough. We rely on the generosity of the public and are very grateful for the wonderful support we receive from people across the city. We are delighted to be involved with the We Shall Overcome event and would like to thank everyone who supports it this weekend.”

Val Colvin, Events Co-ordinator for We Shall Overcome Liverpool, added: “We are proud to be working alongside Everton in the Community and thank them for raising awareness of our WSO events happening between 1-5 October. All of our events are raising food or cash for foodbanks, The Whitechapel, The Brink and local community projects across Merseyside.”

Please see the below guide of the most beneficial items to donate on Sunday:

Dry products, such as rice, mashed potato and pasta.

Tinned products, such as meats, pies, stews, chilli, tuna, vegetables, beans, spaghetti, and soup.

Packet products, such as breakfast cereals, biscuits, long life milk and fruit juice, sugar, and teabags.

Toiletries, such as toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.

For more information on We Shall Overcome’s weekend of action visit www.weshallovercomeweekend.com